Journal of Theoretical Politics (J THEOR POLIT )

Publisher: SAGE Publications

Description

Journal of Theoretical Politics is the major journal for publication of work concerned with the development of theory in the study of political processes. It provides an authoritative forum for the publication of original papers that seek to make genuinely theoretical contributions to the study of politics. The journal offers rigorous articles on a range of theoretical topics. It focuses on new theoretical work that is broadly accessible to political scientists and enhances an understanding of political processes. Journal of Theoretical Politics does not confine its readers to a specific theoretical approach but offers the benefit of a range of research perspectives that affirm the general importance of theory in political science. The journal also publishes articles which evaluate the relative merits of competing theories to explain empirical phenomena, and original syntheses of recent theoretical developments in diverse fields.

  • Impact factor
    0.43
  • 5-year impact
    0.74
  • Cited half-life
    0.00
  • Immediacy index
    0.16
  • Eigenfactor
    0.00
  • Article influence
    0.75
  • Website
    Journal of Theoretical Politics website
  • Other titles
    Journal of theoretical politics (Online)
  • ISSN
    1460-3667
  • OCLC
    38526092
  • Material type
    Document, Periodical, Internet resource
  • Document type
    Internet Resource, Computer File, Journal / Magazine / Newspaper

Publisher details

SAGE Publications

  • Pre-print
    • Author can archive a pre-print version
  • Post-print
    • Author cannot archive a post-print version
  • Restrictions
    • 12 months embargo
  • Conditions
    • On author website, repository and PubMed Central
    • On author's personal web site
    • Publisher copyright and source must be acknowledged
    • Publisher's version/PDF cannot be used
    • Post-print version with changes from referees comments can be used
    • "as published" final version with layout and copy-editing changes cannot be archived but can be used on secure institutional intranet
    • If funding agency rules apply, authors may use SAGE open to comply
  • Classification
    ​ yellow

Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This paper contributes to our understanding of legislative behaviour in mixed-member electoral systems through a simple game-theoretic model. It argues that legislators seeking re-election in mixed-member electoral systems need to take into account the interests of two distinct selectorates rather than an electorate in order to maximize the probability of regaining a legislative mandate. Assuming that the policy interests of list and district selectorates systematically differ, legislators may face diverging demands from two principals whose relative capability to sanction incumbents crucially hinges upon the reward they may offer. Such reward, I argue, is best understood as the strength of the nomination, which refers to the probability of subsequent election. A simple game-theoretic model then shows how variation in the relative strength of both selectorates induces three different scenarios with distinct equilibrium outcomes and thus effectively impacts patterns of representation.
    Journal of Theoretical Politics 01/2014; 26(1):93-116.
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    ABSTRACT: This paper shows that change in party systems within parliaments can lead to major change in policy outcomes. Specifically, we show that policy mobility of parties and fluidity in their parliamentary membership can generate or upset the existence of the policy core as well as determine its location. Our analysis applies to the general case of a multiparty parliament. We then follow up with empirical illustrations that conform to the major types of theoretical dynamics in our analysis, where party change that occurred in parliaments was consistent with attempts to manipulate the policy core.
    Journal of Theoretical Politics 01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The Groseclose and Snyder (1996) model is one of the best-known models of vote buying in legislatures. Although the logic of the model is compelling, it is not clear that its key propositions, derived in a continuous set-up, hold in finite legislatures. This is an important issue because many real-world legislatures are small and should be modeled as finite in order to make predictions on coalition formation in them. This paper makes two contributions. The main one is to show with full generality that the key propositions in the Groseclose and Snyder model do carry through into finite legislatures. Secondly, it clarifies the role that parameter restrictions played in previous work on this question by Banks (2000) which was not fully general.
    Journal of Theoretical Politics 04/2012; 24(2):265-273.
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    ABSTRACT: International institutions lack the independent ability to punish non-compliance, but states sustain cooperation because they can target one another for punishment. In contrast, international criminal courts and tribunals (ICTs) can enforce rulings once suspects are in custody, but they lack the independent power of capture, leaving them unable to punish alleged criminals and therefore deter crime. We analyze a game between an ICT and a suspect to assess the potential of pre-arrest bargaining as a solution to the problem of capture. We show that ICTs that bargain with fugitives will be able to secure their surrender and administer justice, although this comes at the cost of incentivizing some crime. Further, those courts least able to secure their suspects’ capture will, surprisingly, be the most willing to issue warrants. International institutions may thus be able to achieve compliance even when faced with uncooperative member states.
    Journal of Theoretical Politics 04/2012; 24(2):149-171.
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    ABSTRACT: We provide an analysis of a power-maximising model for dictatorial behaviour. In the model, the dictator’s revenues depend on the exports of a single crop. Using export earnings the dictator buys loyalty from the producers of the export crop by setting the domestic producer price. Revenues resulting from the difference between the international and the domestic price of the crop are used to finance a repressive apparatus. We present a complete comparative statics analysis of the choice between repression and loyalty to obtain power, in response to changes in the international price of the single crop in the economy. The results allow for a novel classification of power-maximising behaviour into benevolent, tyrannical and totalitarian dictatorships. We argue that the model and the associated dictatorship typology can be embedded into Wintrobe’s more general specification of a dictator’s objective function, which combines aspirations for power with rent-seeking motives. We compare our analysis with empirical observations of the Habyarimana regime in Rwanda (1973–1994). JEL Classification Numbers: D72, H30, H56.
    Journal of Theoretical Politics 04/2012; 24(2):210-234.
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    ABSTRACT: Why would a generic parliament have committees with minority party members? If the majority party considers minority party committee members a burden, then it could choose to exclude minority party members entirely from the committee system. This, however, has rarely happened in history. In this paper, I provide an informational rationale for the bipartisan committee system through a simple signaling model. I show that, in equilibrium, the majority party on the floor can extract better information and, therefore, enact more preferred policy outcomes by forming committees with members of both parties.
    Journal of Theoretical Politics 04/2012; 24(2):248-264.
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    ABSTRACT: The ‘mean voter theorem’ implies that candidates should choose identical policy positions in a two-candidate race if voting is probabilistic. This result is in fact an artifact of the assumption that the candidates maximize expected vote share or probability of win, which is not true for many real-world elections. In this paper I analyze a probabilistic voting model in which the candidates have preferences other than the maximization of the expected number of votes or the probability of win maximization. I derive the comparative statics for two voters and one-dimensional policy space. Each voter cares about both the policy platform and the identity of the candidate. It is shown that an increase in the value of exactly one vote causes each candidate to choose a position closer to that of its partisan voter. Numeric computation of equilibria show that these results can be generalized to three or more voters. The results imply that the nonlinearity and non-symmetry of payoffs can affect the policy positions of the candidates.
    Journal of Theoretical Politics 04/2012; 24(2):235-247.
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    ABSTRACT: We report the results of a trust survey and public goods experiment conducted with high school students in rural Thailand and Cambodia that together help clarify the dynamics at work in sustaining economic cooperation within these two third-world communities. We find that standard survey measures of trust employed by the World Values Survey, which form the basis of most macro-empirical investigations of trust and political-economic development, are not useful for predicting contributions to a public goods game. Expectations, on the other hand, profoundly influence contributions and do so independently of trust levels. However, this influence is complex and depends on the distribution of player types. We observe a distribution similar to previous studies, with the largest group, principled reciprocators, updating their behavior quickly based on expectations of trustworthiness. Indeed, this study suggests that trustworthiness in particular is more important than trust in general and further challenges ‘a-rational’ theories of trust.
    Journal of Theoretical Politics 04/2012; 24(2):172-209.
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    ABSTRACT: The protests associated with the 2011 Arab Spring represent a serious and sustained challenge to autocratic rule in the Middle East. Under what conditions will Arab protest movements translate into a full-fledged ‘fourth wave’ of democratization? We argue that questions about the commitment of Islamic political opposition to democracy beyond a country’s first free election may hinder Middle Eastern democratization. We extend Przeworski’s canonical model of political liberalization as described in Democracy and the Market (1991) and find that transition to democracy is only possible under two conditions. First, uncertainty regarding the preferences of key elite actors is a necessary condition for democratic transition. Second, the repressive capacity of the state must lie above a minimum threshold. Given these conditions, democracy can occur when two types of political actors meet – regime liberalizers who prefer democracy to a narrowed dictatorship, and civil society elite who honor democratic principles. While a series of influential studies have argued that authoritarian elites block democratic transition because of their fear of the economic redistributive preferences of the median voter, this study suggests that regime liberalizers in the Middle East suspect political openings could become a vehicle for Islamists to seize power through free elections only to deny the median voter another chance to express their will.
    Journal of Theoretical Politics 01/2012; 24(1):110-146.
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    ABSTRACT: When something goes awry in a governmental agency, a frequent claim is that appointed political heads are incompetent. If true, what explains this in a separation of powers system where the executive nominates and the legislature approves? Our analysis provides a rationale and conditions for rational incompetence. Specifically, we present a model in which a President nominates and the Senate confirms or rejects an appointee. Besides choosing a nominee’s ideology, the President can determine competence, with less competence meaning more policy outcome variance. Interestingly, without assuming that political actors are inherently risk takers, we identify conditions generating what Goemans and Fey (2009) have labeled institutionally-induced risk taking, where both the President and the relevant filibuster pivot propose and approve an incompetent administrator in equilibrium. Reasons for incompetence go beyond pure loyalty or patronage, and our model corresponds to contemporary cases of seemingly incompetent administration.
    Journal of Theoretical Politics 01/2012; 24(1):3-18.
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    ABSTRACT: Failure to take into account 'strategic retirement' leads to inflated estimates of the incumbent electoral advantage. The one attempt to address this issue in the context of US House elections implies that much of the supposed incumbency advantage and most of its presumed increase over time are illusory (Cox and Katz, 2002). This paper identifies possible problems with the Cox and Katz (2002) method and develops a new approach based on simulating the counterfactual condition of incumbents standing for re-election rather than retiring. The results show that when the bias induced by strategic retirement is removed, much of the apparent incumbency advantage and its increase over time remain evident.
    Journal of Theoretical Politics 10/2011; 23(4):431-447.
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    ABSTRACT: This article argues that the discursive dilemma and the judgement aggregation which causes it are based on a misconception of what it means for a group to give reasons for a democratic decision. Judgement aggregation analyses fail to distinguish between the procedure for determining such a decision, which should involve a vote of all group members, and the process for determining the reasons for such a decision, which should only take account of the views of the members that supported that decision. On the basis of this improved interpretation, the article advances a method for representing reasons for group decisions that is both democratic and rational, thus avoiding the choice between these apparently incompatible goals suggested by the discursive dilemma.
    Journal of Theoretical Politics 10/2011; 23(4):448-462.
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    ABSTRACT: What are the factors that lead to variation in the clientelistic use of state resources in electoral contexts? In this article I provide one answer to this question by focusing on the role of intra-party politics and analyzing the empirical case of patronage jobs in the Argentine provinces between 1984 and 2001. Patronage jobs in provincial administrations help governors build political support both in their own party and with the general public. However, when governors need their party (leader)'s support for their political careers and when the national party leadership position is open to competition, they reduce their clientelistic efforts not to lose the party's (or party leader's) support. The statistical analysis of public employment confirms this prediction that patronage is lower when the party's (or party leader's) support is important for politicians and when the leadership position within parties is open to competition.
    Journal of Theoretical Politics 10/2011; 23(4):480-509.
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    ABSTRACT: I consider a model in which the winner of a primary election faces a third candidate in a general election immediately thereafter. Prior to the primary election, there is a pre-election poll on how voters would vote in a hypothetical general election between one of the candidates in the primary election and the third candidate. I illustrate that voters have an incentive to misrepresent their voting intentions in the pre-election poll in order to influence voter beliefs about candidate electability in the general election and possibly cause voters to vote differently in the primary election.
    Journal of Theoretical Politics 10/2011; 23(4):463-479.
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    ABSTRACT: Contrary to codified procedures, almost all informational theories of legislative organization assume that the House floor commits to a special rule for floor consideration prior to a committee proposal. Employing Gilligan and Krehbiel's (1989b) theoretical framework, we demonstrate that whether or not to assume this procedural commitment has a profound impact on our understanding of how the floor can structure the committee's incentives to reveal information. In particular, we find that several of Krehbiel's (1991) primary hypotheses, particularly that regarding preference outliers, generally do not hold without procedural commitment. Underscoring the key role of procedural commitment in informational theories, our results not only open up important avenues through which to construct a more defensible foundation for informational theory but also offer the hope of reconciling discrepancies between theoretical predictions and empirical regularities.
    Journal of Theoretical Politics 10/2011; 23(4):532-558.
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    ABSTRACT: This paper investigates how constituency size affects spatial competition in a two-party system with a new entrant. When the electorate is small, two-party systems are stable only if the following conditions hold: the candidates are neither too certain nor too uncertain about voters’ preferences; competition is sufficiently costly; and the candidates have binding policy commitments. Moreover, whenever equilibrium exists in small constituencies, the two parties are considerably polarized. In contrast, when the electorate is large, two-party equilibrium obtains under a much wider set of conditions and exhibits low polarization. The Downsian prediction of two-party convergence and the Duvergerian prediction of plurality rule leading to a two-party system are more robust in larger electorates.
    Journal of Theoretical Politics 07/2011; 23(3):344-358.

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