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Principles of Comparative Politics

Principles of Comparative Politics

Fourth Edition

September 2024 | 768 pages | CQ Press
Principles of Comparative Politics offers a view into the rich world of comparative inquiry, research, and scholarship. This groundbreaking text gives students meaningful insight into how cross-national comparison is actually conducted and why it matters. William R. Clark, Matt Golder, and Sona N. Golder walk us through the enduring questions that scholars grapple with, the issues about which consensus has started to emerge, and the tools comparativists use to analyze the complex and interesting problems at the heart of the field.
The thoroughly revised Fourth Edition includes streamlined discussion and analysis of key topics and theories in the field.

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1. Introduction
2. What Is Science?
3. What Is Politics?
4. The Origins of the Modern State
5. Democracy and Dictatorship: Conceptualization and Measurement
6. The Economic Determinants of Democracy and Dictatorship
7. The Cultural Determinants of Democracy and Dictatorship
8. Democratic Transitions
9. Varieties of Dictatorship
10. Problems with Group Decision Making
11. Parliamentary, Presidential, and Semi-Presidential Democracies
12. Elections and Electoral Systems
13. Parties, Party Systems, and Party Competition
14. Institutional Veto Players
15. Consequences of Democratic Institutions


Instructor Resource Site
Online resources included with this text

The online resources for your text are available via the password-protected Instructor Resource Site, which offers access to all text-specific resources, including a test bank and editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides.

This book provides an excellent introduction to the science of comparative politics. The authors have expertly crafted a thematic arrangement of topics that provides students with a cutting-edge introduction to the state of our discipline. The book really has few peers in this regard.

Christopher Hale
University of Alabama

The best textbook in comparative politics.

Thiago Silva
Texas A&M University

A scientific approach to the study of comparative politics. It is a book on comparative political *science* rather than a book that simply describes politics in other countries.

Robin E. Best
Binghamton University (SUNY)
Key features
  • Significant updates to most chapters covering key advances in comparative politics research.
  • Updated text boxes featuring new examples throughout the book on topics such as diversity and science, labor scarcity, populism, why people vote, gender quotas in dictatorship, and African military coups.
  • New or revised discussions of a number of key theories and significant topics including democratic backsliding and the early origins of democracy.
  • Streamlined to 15 chapters, removing chapter 9 from the 3rd edition.
  • Thoroughly updated data and citations throughout the book, reflecting current research and statistics.
  • New learning objectives that frame the chapter goals at the beginning of each chapter.
  • Revised and expanded end of chapter problems addressing new topics.
  • The book is organized around the Big Questions that motivate the field:
    • Why do some countries have democratic regimes and other have dictatorships?
    • Does the type of a country’s regime affect the well-being of its citizens?
    • How do governments form and what determines the type of governments that take office?
  • The text is first-in-its-class when it comes to amplifying contemporary research and the methods scholars use to form their ideas. It begins with a straightforward discussion of the comparative and scientific methods and then outlines recent debates about the political phenomena. Topics including state failure, economic and cultural determinants of democracy, the effects of regime type, and the electoral system.
  • Cases and examples are drawn from a variety of countries–not just “the usual suspects”–and are incorporated into the chapters.
  • Clear and abundant explanations of the scientific method and game theory with built-in exercises show students how, not just what, and helps bolster the books’ focus on explanation and analysis, not just description.
  • A set of maps allow students to visualize the geographic distribution of various key institutions around the world.
  • The book's pedagogy includes chapter opener overviews, bolded key terms and a marginal glossary, more than 250 tables and figures, numerous photos and maps, end of chapter questions and problem sets, and a broad set of works cited.

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