February Duke Political Science Publications

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Johnston, Christopher D., Howard G. Lavine, and Christopher M. Federico. 2017. Open versus Closed: Personality, Identity, and the Politics of Redistribution. Cambridge University Press. 

Debates over redistribution, social welfare, and market regulation are central to American politics. Why do some of us prefer a large role for government in the economic life of the nation while others prefer a smaller role? In Open Versus Closed, the authors argue that these preferences are not always what they seem. They show how deep-seated personality traits underpinning the culture wars over race and immigration, sexuality, gender roles, and religion influence debates about economics, binding cultural and economic preferences together in unexpected ways. Integrating insights from both psychology and political science - and twenty years of observational and experimental data - the authors reveal the deeper motivations driving attitudes toward government. The book concludes that for the politically engaged these attitudes are not primarily driven by self-interest but by a desire to express the traits and cultural commitments that define their identities.

Matthew Dimick, David Rueda and Daniel Stegmueller (2017), "The Altruistic Rich? Inequality and Other-Regarding Preferences for Redistribution", Quarterly Journal of Political Science: Vol. 11: No. 4, pp 385-439.

What determines support among individuals for redistributive policies? Do individuals care about others when they assess the consequences of redistribution? This article proposes a model of other-regarding preferences for redistribution, which we term income-dependent altruism. Our model predicts that an individual’s preferred level of redistribution is decreasing in income, increasing in inequality, and, more importantly, that the inequality effect is increasing in income. Thus, even though the rich prefer less redistribution than the poor, the rich are more responsive, in a positive way, to changes in inequality than are the poor. We contrast these results with several other prominent alternatives of other-regarding behavior. Using data for the United States from 1978 to 2010, we find significant support for our claims.

Paula D. McClain and Steven C. Tauber, American Government in Black and White: Diversity and Democracy, 3rd edition.  (New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017)

American Government in Black and White: Diversity and Democracy, Third Edition, is a unique introduction to American government that uses racial and ethnic equality as its underlying theme. Authors Paula D. McClain and Steven C. Tauber address issues of inequality in major facets of government, including the U.S. Constitution, key American political institutions and instruments of political behavior, and the making of public policy. Engaging the original voices of racial and ethnic actors in our nation's history, they show students how to measure and evaluate the importance of equality in America, from its founding up to today. The third edition has been thoroughly updated to cover recent political events, including the 2016 presidential election campaigns and outcomes. 

Stromseth, Jonathan, Edmund Malesky, and Dimitar Gueorguiev. 2017.  China’s Governance Puzzle: Enabling Transparency and Participation in a Single-Party State.  Cambridge University Press.

China is widely viewed as a global powerhouse that has achieved a remarkable economic transformation with little political change. Less well known is that China's leaders have also implemented far‐reaching governance reforms designed to promote government transparency and increase public participation in official policymaking. What are the motivations behind these reforms and, more importantly, what impact are they having? This puzzle lies at the heart of Chinese politics and could dictate China's political trajectory for years to come. This extensive collaborative study not only documents the origins and scope of these reforms across China, but offers the first systematic assessment by quantitatively and qualitatively analyzing the impact of participation and transparency on important governance outcomes. Comparing across provinces and over time, the authors argue that the reforms are resulting in lower corruption and enhanced legal compliance, but these outcomes also depend on a broader societal ecosystem that includes an active media and robust civil society.