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Flashcards in Key Terms (Before Midterm) Deck (25)


An argument that links cause to effect - a specific proposed explanation for why an outcome occurs. Hypotheses are causal and testable and falsifiable.


Independent Variable

The one that we expect to change the value of the dependent variable. The independent influences change. It is the input, cause, explanatory variable, and the x-axis.


Dependent Variable

Effect or outcome that we expect to have its value altered by the independent variable. Result and y-axis.


Method of Agreement (Most different systems design - MDSD)

This method compares and contrasts cases with DIFFERENT ATTRIBUTES but SHARED OUTCOMES. It compares contrasting countries and its goal is to identify what these different countries have in common.


Method of Difference (Most similar systems design MSSD)

This method compares and contrasts cases with the SAME ATTRIBUTES but DIFFERENT OUTCOMES. It compares similar countries whose similarities can either be in the sociocultural environment or in the political systems. Example includes Germany and France. Germany is a Federal country, France is a unitary country.


inclusive vs. extractive political institutions

Acemoglu and Robinson argue that “Nations thrive when they develop ‘inclusive’ political and economic institutions, and they fail when these institutions become ‘extractive’ and concentrate power and opportunity in the hands of only a few”.


Path dependence

Repercussions of early events on subsequent and distant historical outcomes.
Ex. Industrial Revolution was a result of a path dependent process.


Critical juncture

An initial event that triggers a reaction. Scholars using this concept emphasize how such events are contingent (unpredictable or random) and focus on how these events, at that time, were hardly an indication of the path to follow. For example, the invention of the Newcomen steam engine led to the Industrial Revolution in England 18th C.



Weber defines a state as a compulsory political organization where its administrative staff successfully upholds the claim to the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force in the enforcement of its order. The moderns state is essentially a compulsory association which organizes domination. The essence of state for Weber is enforcement.


Sovereign state

A state that provides the values within one unified and independent social organization.


State strength

(Fukuyama 2004) State strength is having the ability to execute policies, to administer the public business with relative efficiency, to control corruption and bribery, to maintain high levels of transparency and accountability in governemental institutions, and to enforce laws.


State scope

(Fukuyama 2004) State scope is the range of activities that a state carries out, different functions and goals carried out by the government. For example, the US has a limited state scope because for instance it has less regulated markets.


State legitimacy

Legitimacy confers authority and power. Weber offers three forms of legitimacy: Traditional, charismatic, and rational-legal.


Head of state/head of gov't

A state is an abstraction, the government is a concrete organization. Governments come and go, whereas states remain. State is the machinery of politics, government OPERATES that machinery. Government is a set of people who have the right to make decisions that affect everyone in a state. Examples of heads of states and governments: Queen Elizabeth II = head of STATE in UK; Prime Minister Theresa May = head of GOVERNMENT. Emperor Akihito = head of STATE in Japan; Prime Minister Shinzo Abe = head of GOVERNMENT in Japan. President Frank-Walte-Steinmeier = head of STATE in Germany; Chancellor Angela Merkel = head of GOVERNMENT.


Public good

A product that one individual can consume without reducing its availability to another individual and from which no one is excluded. Exs: roads, bridges, airports, street lighting.


Public services

Services which are provided by government to people living within its jurisdiction. Exs: education, healthcare, postal service, police.


Modern international state system

Territory is consolidated, unified, centralized, and under a sovereign government.


the Peace of Westphalia

The Westphalian settlement legitimized a commonwealth of sovereign states. It marked the triumph of the state, in control of its internal affairs and independent externally. The Westphalian treaties state many of the rules and political principles of the new society of states....The settlement was held to provide a fundamental and comprehensive charter for all Europe.


State failure/failed states

State failure is a condition of state collapse, whereby the state can no longer perform its basic security and development functions and has no effective control over its territory and borders. Examples of weak or failed states are Somalia, Haiti, Nigeria, and South Sudan.


The main characteristics of failed states

Incapacity to provide security, flawed political institutions, states no longer provide "public" goods, very high corruption, severe economic crisis, low legitimacy.


Modernization Theory

It holds that social and economic changes in a society (such as economic development) lead to changes in the political structure of a country.



When a person can maintain a livelihood without reliance on the market. The strength of social entitlements and citizens' degree of immunization from market dependency. This term comes from the idea that an individual becomes 'commodified' as workers sell labor for wages in the labor market.


Democracy (Schmitter definition)

Modern political democracy is a system of governance in which rulers are held accountable for their actions in the public realm by citizens, acting indirectly through the competition and cooperation of their elected representatives.


Polyarchy (Dahl definition)

"rule by the many"


Freedom House

A score of the countries based on two aspects: political rights (which enable people to participate freely in the political process) and civil liberties (which allow for the freedoms of expression and belief, associational and organizational rights, rule of law, etc.)