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POL208 FULL Exam Notes

Political Science
Course Code
Lilach Gilady
Study Guide

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Levels of Analysis (LECTURE 1)
J. David Singer (1960)
Domestic/International Politics
Russett, Starr and Kinsell
Individual, decision makers, government structure, society, international relations, world systems
How can we judge which level matters most?
Thought experiment (counterfactuals)
World systems theory—hardest level to grasp
System: set of interacting elements, e.g. change in element A will bring about changes in other
elements thus changing the entire whole
Structure: usually measure by the distribution of power; technology, systematic level of conflict,
distribution of wealth, norms
Example: multi-polarity vs. bipolarity vs. unipolarity
Reading: Wagner, Harrison R. 2010. War and the State: The Theory of International Politics.
The University of Michigan Press: Ann Arbor, pp. 1-12
Since end of WWII polisci debates about relations b/w war and the states = dominated by
Realism and its criticisms
Prominent alternatives to Realism: Liberalism & Constructivism
Debates about Realism = embroiled in controversies about game theory, “rational choice theory”
(p. 1)
Wagner’s argument: fundamental cause of unproductive nature of these controversies = political
scientists’ willingness to tolerate incomplete arguments
Theories, Arguments, and Explanations
In valid arguments, the conclusion follows from the premises; therefore if one believes the
premises one must also believe the conclusion
This is called deductive reasoning
If the premise(s) [are] not true, the argument would remain valid, but the conclusion false
One type of logical fallacy is called “affirming the consequent” (p. 3)
There is also “inductive reasoning, and the problem of induction is to figure out what justifies an
inference” (p. 3)
Inductive inference requires identifying explanation of the facts and supplying reasons to believe
that explanation is better than others
Inductive inference is aka “inference to the best explanation” (p. 4)
Whether reasoning from premisesàconclusions, or observable factsàpossible explanations,
logical validity is necessary for our reasoning to affect our beliefs
If our confidence in the premises is to translate to the conclusion, the conclusion must be implied
by the premises
If an explanation is to be supported by the facts, the facts must be implied by the explanation
Science, Causes, Variables, and Theories
Plausible definition of science: enterprise in which scholars compete in constructing nonobvious
explanations of phenomena that can withstand concerted attempts to discredit them
Science is more concerned with explaining regularities than identifying them

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Science also explains unique events, e.g. where the HIV virus came from
The word theory has been used in many different ways by political scientists
A theory should be “an explanation from which the facts in question can be derived” (p. 8)
Models: Method or Madness?
A model is something used to represent something else
Rational choice theory is a way of constructing mathematical models of people’s choices
3 main ways explanations of human choices become so complicated that models are helpful
The consequences of the choices of many people may not be obvious, and may then interact with
people’s subsequent choices
Individuals may be uncertain about the consequences of their choices, so their choices are not
clearly implied by their preferences over final outcomes
The choices of individuals may be dependent on their expectations of the choices of others
Formal models help us think clearly about IR questions
No formal model can compensate for a poorly framed question
Game theory is not a ready-made theory of IR
Reading: Russett, Bruce, Harvey Starr, and David Kinsella. 2000. World Politics: The Menu for
Choice. Toronto: Wadsworth. pp. 3-23 (Laila Azizi)
World Politics: Levels of Analysis. Choice and Constraint
Three events:
I. Dropping the Atomic Bomb
Showed tremendous killing ability
Brought upon nuclear deterrence because of the thought of mutual annihilation
Little discussion in America about it should be used in war
Alternative was to invade the Japanese homeland
No way to test out the bomb. Using it was the only option. Testing the bomb would be
very dangerous.
Some viewed the A bomb as "atomic diplomacy"
Russians would be limited if the A bomb could get a surrender before the Russians
II. Ending the Cold War
Leader of the losing state: Mikhail Gorbachev
Gorbachev didn't try to save the Soviet Union's closest ally
Proposed deep cuts in arms and withdrew from Czech and Hungary
Assumed a defensive position
Warsaw Pact was disbanded and the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance
Soviet troops would come home without a victory in Afghanistan
Soviet Union disbanded completely in 1991
All of his changes triggered the end of the Cold War
Spread of informations across international borders
Relaxation of Soviet grip
Factors for the end of the Cold War:

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1. Nature of the Soviet leadership
2. Domestic political and economic decay
3. International political competition
4. Global information flows
III. The Asian Financial Crisis
US dollar became stronger = Japanese Yen lost a third of its value (1995)
Suggestion: increase interest rates
Thailand's baht was overvalued = trading of baht for foreign currencies = baht plummeted
Similar in Malaysia and the Philippines. Spread to East Asia
Korean won fell to 1008.6 to the US dollar
More than $110B were pledged to these countries by the IMF, WB. But they had to take
serious economic reforms
Begun to recover in January 1998
If Japan was caught, there would be great global repercussions
Japan was forced to create markets elsewhere to save the affected countries
Two causes for the financial crisis:
1. Internal factors of the Asian economy. People pointed to the downside of "asian values"
which included poor regulation, high corporate debt, favouritism and corruption
2. External factors
Domestic vs foreign affairs
Asian crisis showed the ineffectiveness of government intervention in financial markets
IMF was an integral component
Levels of Analysis: The International System and the Nation-State
David Singer's levels of analysis
Distinctions in foreign policy:
1. Internal or domestic influences from within the boundaries of the nation state
2. External influences, from outside the state's boundaries
Internal system of analysis is the most comprehensive level allowing the observer to
looks at the whole picture and at ALL global patterns of b heavier among states
Includes the distribution of resources, capabilities and the status in world politics
The nation state level: investigate in more detail the conditions within a state that affect
foreign policy choices
Macro vs Micro perspective
Six Levels of Analysis (in order from micro to macro)
1. Individual decision makers and their characteristics
2. Roles occupied by the decision makers
3. Structure of the government within which the decision makers operate
4. The society that the decision makers govern within which they live
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