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AP Comparative Government and Politics
Terms in this set (203)
An informal agreement or settlement between the government and important interest groups in response to the interest groups' concerns for policy or program benefits.
a government's responsibility to its population, usually by periodic popular elections and by parliament's having the power to dismiss the government by passing a motion of no confidence. Ina political system characterized by accountability, the major actions taken by government must be known and understood by the citizenry.
literally "headless" societies. A number of traditional Nigerian societies, such as the Igbo in the precolonial period, lacked executive rulership as we have come to conceive of it. Instead, the villages and clans were governed by committee or consensus.
original peoples of North and South America; indigenous people.
opposition to the power of churches or clergy in politics. In some countries, for example, France and Mexico, this opposition has focused on the role of the Catholic Church in politics.
launched by Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Chairman Mao Xedong in 1957 in the aftermath of the Hundred Flowers Movement. The Campaign was aimed at critics of the CCP who were labeled as "rightists," that is, counterrevolutionaries. Millions of people were affected and hundreds of thousands sent to labor reform camps. Many were not released until after Mao's death in 1976,
Articles of Confederation
the first governing document of the United States, agreed to in 1777 and ratified in 1781. The Articles concentrated most powers in the states and made the national government largely dependent on voluntary contributions of the states.
Assembly of Religious Experts (Iran)
nominates the Supreme Leader and can replace him. The assembly is elected by the general electorate but almost all of its members are clerics.
a system of governance in which political authority is shared between a central government and regional or state governments, but where some sub-national units in the federal system have greater or lesser powers that others.
a system of rule in which power depends not on popular legitimacy but on the coercive force of the political authorities. hence, there are few personal and group freedoms. It is also characterized by near absolute power in the executive branch and few, if any, legislative and judicial controls. (Autocracy, Patrimonialism)
a government in which one or a few rulers has absolute power, thus, a dictatorship.
in the People's Republic of China, a territorial unit equivalent to a province that contains a large concentration of ethnic minorities. These regions, for example Tibet, have some autonomy in the cultural sphere but in most policy matters are strictly subordinate to the central government.
literally, "sign of God." High-ranking clerics in Iran. The most senior ones - often no more than half a dozen - are known as grand ayatollahs.
Balance of payments
an indicator of international flow of funds that shows the excess or deficit in total payments of all kinds between or among countries. included in the calculation are exports and imports, grants, and international debt payments.
an urban marketplace wheres hops, workshops, small businesses, and export-importers are located.
a legislative body with two houses, such as the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. Just as the U.S. Constitution divides responsibilities between the branches of the federal government and between the federal government and the states, it divides legislative responsibilities between the Senate and the House.
Bill of Rights
the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution (ratified in 1971), which established limits on the actions of government. Initially, the Bill of Rights limited only the federal government. The Fourteenth Amendment and subsequent judicial rulings extended the provisions of the bill of Rights to the states.
an organization structured hierarchically, in which lower-level officials are charged with administering regulations codified in rules that specify impersonal, objective guidelines for making decisions. In the modern world, many large organizations, especially business firms and political executive,s are organized along bureaucratic lines.
the ministers who direct executive departments. In parliamentary systems, the cabinet and high-ranking sub-cabinet ministers (also known as the government) are considered collectively responsible to parliament.
a system of government, as in Britain, in which the cabinet (rather than the prime minister) exercises responsibility for formulating policy and directing both the government and the executive branch. In the UK, cabinet government has been undermined as a check on the power of the prime minister.
a person who occupies a position of authority in a communist party-state; cadres may or may not be Communist Party members.
Checks and balances
a governmental system of divided authority in which coequal branches can restrain each other's actions. For example, the U.S. president must sign legislation passed by Congress for it to become laws. If the president vetoes a bill, Congress can override that veto by a two-thirds vote of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
refers to the space occupied by voluntary associations outside the state, for example, professional associations (lawyers, doctors, teachers), trade unions, student and women's groups, religious bodies, and other voluntary association groups. The term is similar to "society," although "civil society" implies a degree of organization absent from the more inclusive term "society."
Clientelism (or patron-client networks)
an informal aspect of policy-making in which a powerful patron (for example, a traditional local boss, government agency, or dominant party) offers resources such as land, contracts protection, or jobs in return for the support and services (such as labor or votes) of lower-status and less powerful clients; corruption, preferential treatment, and inequality are characteristic of clientelist politics. Patrimonialism, prebendalism
the hostile relations that prevailed between the United States and the USSR from the late 1940s until the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991. Although an actual (hot) war never directly occurred between the two super-powers, they clashed indirectly by supporting rival forces in many wars occurring in the Third World.
the groups with which people identify, including gender, class, race, region, and religion, and which are the "building blocks" for social and political action. Any given individual has a variety of identities, for example, a Muslim woman who is a member of the Kurdish ethnic group of northern Iraq. There is enormous variation regarding which collective identities are uppermost for particular individuals, which ones are influential within particular countries, and how effectively political systems process conflicts among collective identities. This question is among the most important issues studies in comparative politics.
a process undertaken in the Soviet Union under Stalin in the late 1920s and early 1930s and in China under Mao in the 1950s, by which agricultural land was removed from private ownership and organized into large state and collective farms.
a form of socialist economic organization in which government decisions ("commands") rather than market mechanisms (such as supply and demand) are the major influences in determining the nation's economic direction; also called central planning.
a system of social organization based on the common ownership and coordination of production. According to Marxism (the theory of German philosopher Karl Marx, 1818-1883) communism is a culminating stage of history, following capitalism and socialism.In historical practice, leaders of China, the Soviet Union, and other states that have proclaimed themselves seeking to achieve communism have ruled through a single party, the Communist Party, which has controlled the state and society in an authoritarian manner, and have applied Marxism-Leninism to justify their rule.
a type of nation-state in which the communist party attempts to exercise a complete monopoly on political power and controls all important state institutions. Communism.
the study of the domestic politics, political institutions, and conflicts of countries. Often involves comparisons among countries and through time within single countries, emphasizing key patterns of similarity and difference.
political scientists who study the similarities and differences in the domestic politics of various countries. Comparative politics.
political systems that have been solidly and stably democratic for an ample period of time and in which there is relatively consistent adherence to core democratic principles.
a system of government in which the head of state ascends by heredity, but is limited in powers and constrained by the provisions of a constitution.
Corporatism (state corporatism)
a system of interest representation in which the constituent units are organized into a limited number of singular, compulsory, noncompetitive,hierarchically ordered and functionally differentiated categories, recognized or licensed (if not created) by the state and granted a deliberate representational monopoly within their respective categories in exchange for observing certain controls in their selection of leaders and articulation of demands and supports.
a state in which interest groups become and institutionalized part of the structure. Corporatism, democratic corporatism, state corporatism.
Corruption Perceptions Index
a measure developed by Transparency International that ranks countries in terms of the degree to which corruption is perceived to exist among public officials and politicians. It is a composite index, drawing on corruption-related data in expert surveys carried out by a variety of reputable institutions. It reflects the views of businesspeople and analysts from around the world, including experts who are locals in the countries evaluated. Range: 10 (highly clean) to 0 (highly corrupt).
a territorial unit controlled by a single state. Countries vary in the degree to which groups within them have a common culture and ethnic affiliation. Nation-state, state.
a forceful, extra-constitutional action resulting in the removal of an existing government.
an important historical moment when political actors make critical choices, which shape institutions and future outcomes.
a Chinese term that means "unit" and is the basic level of social organization and a major means of political control in China's communist party-state. A person's "danwei" is most often his or her workplace, such as a factory or an office. The "danwei" has faded in importance as China moves toward a market economy.
Declaration of Independence
the document asserting the independence of the British colonies in what is now the United States from Great Britain. The Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776.
a system of political organization developed by V.I. Lenin and practiced, with modifications, by all communist party-states. Its principles include a hierarchical party structure in which (1) party leaders are elected on a delegate basis from lower to higher party bodies; (2) party leaders can be recalled by those who elected them; and (3) freedom of discussion is permitted until a decision is taken, but strict discipline and unity should prevail in implementing a decision once it is made. In practice, in all Communist parties in China, the Soviet Union, and elsewhere, centralizing elements tended to predominate over the democratic ones.
the process of a state moving from an authoritarian to a democratic political system.
the policy of democratization identified by former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987 as an essential component of "perestroika." The policy was part of a gradual shift away from a vanguard party approach toward an acceptance of liberal democratic norms. Initially, the policy embraced multicandidate elections and a broadening of political competition within the Communist Party itself; after 1989, it involved acceptance of a multiparty system.
a nation-state in which the government carries out policies that effectively promote national economic growth.
political conflicts involving the distribution of valued resources among competing groups.
policies that allocate state resources into an area that lawmakers perceive needs to be promoted. For example, leaders today believe that students should have access to the Internet. In order to accomplish this goal, telephone users are being taxed to provide money for schools to establish connections to the Internet (which, in large part, uses telephone lines to transfer data).
a society and economy that are sharply divided into a traditional (usually poorer) and a modern (usually richer) sector.
Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)
the organization established in 1975 among the sixteen governments in West Africa. Its goals are to strengthen and broaden the economies in the region through the removal of trade barriers among its members (such as import quotas and domestic content laws), freedom of movement for citizens, and monetary cooperation.
recipient of an "ejido" land grant in Mexico.
land granted by Mexican government to an organized group of peasants.
traditional Islamic ruler. The emir presides over an "emirate," or kingdom, in northern Nigeria.
Environmental Performance Index
a measure of how close countries come to meeting specific benchmarks for national pollution control and natural resource management.
concerted political violence akin to genocide applied to a minority population in a country or region, usually to force its expulsion or mass destruction.
European Union (EU)
an organization of European countries created in 1958 to promote economic integration and political cooperation among European states. At first, the EU's mandate was primarily to reduce tariff barriers among West European states. Since then, more countries throughout Europe have joined the EU, and its power have vastly expanded to include promoting common policies on immigration, technical standards, and economic and monetary regulation.
the agencies of government that implement or execute policy. The highest level of the executive in most countries is a president or prime minister and cabinet. The top executive officeholders supervise the work of the administrative departments and bureaus.
a committee set up in Iran to resolve differences between the "Majles" and the Guardian Council.
Persian word for the Persian language. Fars is a province in Central Iran.
Federal Reserve Board
the U.S. central bank established by Congress in 1913 to regulate the banking industry and the money supply. Although the president appoints the chair of the board of governors (with Senate approval), the board operates largely independently. many criticize its policies as reflecting the needs of banks and international capital over the needs of citizens, particularly workers.
a system of governance in which political authority is shared between the national government and regional or state governments. The powers of each level of the government are usually specified in a federal constitution.
Foreign direct investment
ownership of or investment in cross-border enterprises in which the investor plays a direct managerial role.
Foundation of the Oppressed
a clerically controlled foundation in Iran set up after the revolution.
"Four Cardinal Principles"
ideas first enunciated by Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping in 1979 asserting that all policies should be judged by whether they uphold the socialist road, the dictatorship of the proletariat, the leadership of the Communist Party, and Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought. The main purpose of the Four Cardinal Principles was to proscribe any challenge to the ultimate authority of the Chinese Communist Party, even during a time of far-reaching economic reform. The Principles have been reaffirmed by Deng's successors and continue to define the boundaries of what is politically permissible in China.
a system in which government regulation of the economy is absent or limited. Relative to other advanced democracies, the United States has traditionally had a freer market economically. Laissez-faire.
international commerce that is relatively unregulated or constrained by tariffs (special payments imposed by governments on exports or imports).
Freedom in the World rating
an annual evaluation by the nongovernmental organization (NGO) Freedom House that identifies the level of freedom in countries around the world, measured according to political rights and civil liberties through a multi-layered process of analysis sand evaluation by a team of regional experts and scholars. Countries are ranked in .5 gradations between 1 and 7, 1.0-2.5 being free, 3.0-5.0 being partly free, and 5.5-7.0 not free.
a term recently popularized to describe radical religious movements throughout the world.
Fusion of powers
a constitutional principle that merges the authority of branches of government, in contrast to the principle of separtion of powers. In Britain for example, Parliament is the supreme legislative, executive, and judicial authority. The fusion of legislature and executive is also expressed in the function and personnel of the cabinet.
politically significant differences in social attitudes and voting behavior between men and women.
the intentional and coordinated attempt to destroy a people, defined in national, religious, racial, or ethnic terms.
Gorbachev's policy of "openness" or "publicity," which involved an easing of controls on the media, arts, and public discussion, leading to an outburst of public debate and criticism covering most aspects of Soviet history, culture, and policy.
Global Gender Gap
a measure of the extent to which women in 58 countries have achieved equality with men in five critical areas: economic participation, economic opportunity, political empowerment, educational attainment, and health and well-being.
the intensification of worldwide interconnectedness associated with the increased speed and magnitude of cross-border flows of trade investment, and finance, and processes of migration, cultural diffusion, and communication.
Great Leap Forward
a movement launched by Mao Zedong in 1958 to industrialize China very rapidly and thereby propel it toward communism. The Leap[ ended in economic disaster in 1960, causing one of the worst famines in human history.
Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution
the political campaign launched in 1966 by Chairman Mao Zedong to stop what he saw as China's drift away from socialism and toward capitalism. The campaign led to massive purges in the Chinese Communist Party, the widespread persecution of China's intellectuals, extensive political violence, ad the destruction of invaluable cultural objects. The Cultural Revolution officially ended in 1976 after Mao's death and the arrest of some of this most radical followers.
a strategy for increasing agricultural (especially food) production, involving improved seeds, irrigation, and abundant use of fertilizers.
Gross domestic product (GDP)
the total of all goods and services produced within a country; it is used as a broad measure of the size of its economy.
a Chinese term that means "connections" or "relationships," and describes personal ties between individuals based on such things as common birthplace or mutual acquaintances. "Guanxi" are an important factor in China's political and economic life.
a committee created int eh Iranian constitution to oversee the Majles (the parliament).
a military strategy based on small, highly mobile band of soldiers (the guerrillas, from the Spanish word for war, guerra) who use hit-and-run tactics like ambushes to attack a better-armed enemy.
a state that can control the pattern of alliances and terms of the international order, and often shapes domestic political developments in countries throughout the world.
literally "partisans of God." In Iran, the term is used to describe religious vigilantes. In Lebanon, it is used to describe the Shi'i militia.
literally "the proof of Islam." In Iran, it means a medium-ranking cleric.
Household responsibility system
the system put into practice in China beginning in the early 1980s in which the major decisions about agricultural production are mad3e by individual farm families based on the profit motive rather than by a people's commune or the government.
a Chinese term that means "household residency permit" and refers to the system in which all citizens of the People's Republic of China must have an official card that allows them to live, work, and receive benefits only in a specific location. The "hukou" system was used as a means of social control, political surveillance, and internal migration restrictions. The "hukou" system has not been vigorously enforced since China has moved toward a market economy and the need for labor mobility.
Human Development Index
a composite number used by the United Nations to measure and compare levels of achievement in health, knowledge, and standard of living. HDI is based on the following indicators: life expectancy, adult literacy rate and school e3nrollemnt statistics, and gross domestic product per capita at purchasing power parity.
Hundred Flowers Movement
refers to a period in 1956-1957 when Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong encouraged citizens, particularly intellectuals, to speak out ("Let a hundred flowers bloom, let a hundred schools of thought contend!") and give their view on how to improve China's government. Mao was shocked by the depth of the criticism of communist rule and cracked down by silencing and punishing the critics by launching the Anti-Rightist Campaign of 1957.
a set of fundamental ideas, values, or beliefs about how a political, economic, or social system should be organized. Examples of ideology include capitalism, communism, and socialism.
prayer leaders in Iran's main urban mosques. Appointed by the Supreme Leader, they have considerable authority in the provinces.
Import substituting industrialization (ISI)
strategy for industrialization based on domestic manufacture of previously imported goods to satisfy domestic market demands. Developmentalism.
population of Amerindian heritage in Mexico.
as term used to describe the British style of colonialism in Nigeria and India in which local traditional rulers and political structures were used to help support eh colonial governing structure.
Informal sector (economy)
that portion of the economy largely outside government control in which emplo9yees work without contracts or benefits. Examples include casual employees in restaurants and hotels, street vendors, and day laborers in construction or agriculture.
a term used in relation to Russia to refer to the transformation of formerly state-owned enterprises into joint-stock companies or private enterprises in which majority control of the enterprise is in the hand s of employees and/or managers of that enterprise.
the institutional arrangements that define the relationships between executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government and between the central government and sub-central units such as the states in the United States.
organizations that seek to represent the interests - usually economic - of their members in dealings with the government. Important examples are associations representing people with specific occupations, business interests, racial and ethnic groups, or age groups in society.
International financial institutions (IFIs)
generally refers to the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (the World Bank) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF,) but can also includ3e other international lending institutions. Structural adjustment program (SAP)
International Monetary Fund (IMF)
the sister organization of the World Bank and has more than 180 member states. It describes it s mandate as "working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty." It has been particularly active in helping countries that are experiencing serious financial problems. In exchange for IMF financial or technical assistance, a country must agree to a certain set of conditions that promote economic liberalization. Structural Adjustment program and World Bank.
an interventionist state acts vigorously to shape the performance of major sectors of the economy.
Iron rice bowl
a feature of China's socialist economy during the Maoist era (1949-1976) that provided guarantees of lifetime employment, income, and basic cradle-to-grave benefits to most urban and rural workers. Economic reforms beginning in the 1980s that aimed at improving efficiency and work motivation sought to smash the iron rice bowl and link employment and income more directly to individual effort.
literally "struggle." Although often used to mean armed struggle against unbelievers, it can also mean spiritual struggle for self-improvement.
a business firm whose capital is divided into shares that can be held by individuals, groups of individuals, or governmental units. In Russia, formation of joint-stock companies has been the primary method privatizing large state enterprises.
one of the primary political institutions in a country; responsible for the administration of justice and in some countries for determining the constitutionality of state decisions.
Khomeini's concept that the Iranian clergy should rule on the grounds that they are the divinely appointed guardians of both the law and the people. He developed this concept tin the 1970s.
named after the British economist John Maynard Keynes, an approach to economic policy in which state economic policies are used to regulate the economy in an attempt to achieve stable economic gowth. During recession, state budget deficits are used to expand demand in an effort to boost both consumption and investment, and to create employment. During periods of high growth when inflation threatens, cuts in government spending and a tightening of credit are used to reduce demand.
the term taken from the French, which means, "to let do," in other words, to allow to act freely. In political economy, it refers to the pattern in which state management is limited to such matters as enforcing contracts and protecting property rights, while private market forces are free to operate with only minimal state regulation. Free market.
a state where the rule of law prevails, so that actions of the government as well as nongovernmental actors are subject to the requirements of the law. The creation of a law-based state in the Soviet Union was one of the explicit goals of Gorbachev's reform process, thus limiting the ability of state agencies or the Communist Party of the Soviet Union arbitrarily to circumvent laws or legal provisions.
Also known in the West as the Supreme Leader. He is the chief cleric who as "guide" heads the Islamic Republic. `
one of the primary political institutions in a country, in which elected members are charged with responsibility for making laws and usually providing for the financial resoures for the state to carry out its functions.
a belief by powerful groups and the broad citizenry that a state exercises rightful authority. In the contemporary world, a state is said to possess legitimacy when it enjoys consent of the governed, which usually involves democratic procedures and the attempt to achieve a satisfactory level of development and equitable distribution of resources.
a political system that combines capitalist organization of the economy with a democratic political system.
government policy intended to shape the overall economic system at the national level by concentrating on policy targets such as inflation or growth.
a term borrowed from Italy and widely used in Russia to describe networks of organized criminal activity that pervade both economic and governmental securities in that country as well as activities such as the demanding of protection money, bribe-taking by government officials, contract killing, and extortion.
Arabic term for "assembly"; used in Iran to describe the parliament.
the public philosophy in the nineteenth century that the United States was not only entitled but also destined to occupy territory from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
factories that produce goods for export, often located along the U.S.-Mexican border.
"Marbury v. Madison"
the 1803 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the federal courts inherently had the authority to review the constitutionality of laws passed by Congress and signed by the president. the ruling, initially used sparingly, placed the courts centrally in the system of checks and balances.
a strategy of economic transformation embraced by the Yeltsin government in Russia and the Deng Xiaoping government in China that involves reducing the role of the state in managing the economy and increasing the role of market forces. In Russia, market reform is part of the transition to post-communism and includes the extensive transfer of the ownership of economic assets from the state to private hands. In China, market reform has been carried out under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and involves less extensive privatization.
a period of time during which the normal procedures of government are suspended and the executive branch enforces the law with military power.
the theoretical foundation of communism based on the ideas of the German philosopher, Karl Marx (1818-1883) and the leader of the Russian Revolution, V.I. Lenin (1870-1924). Marxism is, in essence, a theory of historical development that emphasizes the struggle between exploiting and exploited classes, particularly the struggle between the bourgeoisie (capitalists) and the proletariat (the industrial working class). Leninism emphasizes the strategy and organization to be used by the communist party to overthrow capitalism and seize power as a first step on the road to communism.
Arabic term for "expediency," "prudence," or "advisability." It is now used in Iran to refer to reasons of state or what is best for the Islamic Republic.
a person of mixed white, indigenous (Amerindian), and sometimes African descent.
seeks to explain phenomena in a limited range of cases, in particular, a specific set of countries with particular characteristics, such as parliamentary regimes, or a particular type of political institution (such as political institution (such as political parties) or activity (such as protest).
an approach to economic policy that assumes a natural rate of unemployment determined by the labor market, emphasizes settling targets for the rate of growth of the monetary supply, gives highest priority to controlling inflation, and rejects the instrument of government spending to run budgetary deficits for stimulating the economy.
Muslim place of worship, equivalent to a church, temple, or synagogue.
Most different case analysis
the logic of most different case analysis is that, by comparing cases that differ widely, one seeks to isolate a factor or factors (termed the independent variable or variables) that both cases share - despite their sharp differences in other respects - that might explain an outcome (or dependent variable).
distinct, politically defined territory in which the state and national identity coincide. Country.
a term used to describe government policies aiming to reduce state regulation and promote competition among business firms within the market. Neoliberal policies include monetarism, privatization, reducing trade barriers, balancing government budgets, and reducing social spending.
Newly industrialized countries (NICs)
a term used to describe a group of countries that achieved rapid economic development beginning in the 1960s, largely stimulated by robust international trade (particularly exports) and guided by government policies. The core NICs are usually considered to be Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Singapore, but other countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Malaysia, Mexico, and Thailand, are often included in this category.
a system of personnel selection under which the Communist Party maintained control over the appointment of important officials of all spheres of social, economic, and political life. The term is also used to describe individuals chosen through this system and thus refers more broadly to the privileged circles in the Soviet Union and China.
Nongovernmental organization (NGO)
a private group that seeks to influence public policy and deal with certain problems that it believes are not being adequately addressed by governments, such as Amnesty International (human rights), Oxfam (famine relief), and Greenpeace (the environment).
North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
a treaty among the United States, Mexico, and Canada implemented on January 1, 1994, that largely eliminates trade barriers among the three nations and establishes procedures to resolve trade disputes. NAFTA serves as a model for an eventual Free Trade Area of the Americas zone that could include most nations in the Western Hemisphere.
a small group of powerful and wealthy individuals who gained ownership and control of important sectors of Russia's economy in the context of the privatization of state assets in the 1990s.
Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Founded in 1960 by Iran,
Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia, it now includes most oil-exporting states with the notable exceptions of Mexico and former members of the Soviet Union. It tries to regulate prices by regulating production.
system of government in which the chief executive is answerable to the legislature and may be dismissed by it. Parliamentary democracy stands in contrast to a presidential system, in which the chief executive is elected in a national ballot and is independent of the legislative branch.
a constitutional principle of government (principally in Britain) by which the legislature reserves the power to make or overturn any law without recourse by the executive, the judiciary, or the monarchy. Only Parliament can nullify or overturn legislation approved by Parliament; and Parliament can force the cabinet or the government to resign by voting a motion of no confidence.
Persian term for guards, used to refer to the army of Revolutionary Guards formed during Iran's Islamic Revolution.
a concept used initially by economists and now by political scientists to analyze the manner in which previous institutional structures and conditions constrain and influence opportunities for change; path dependence does not, however, imply determinism, since contingent events and human agency can, within limits, also influence outcomes.
Patrimonialism (or neopatrimonialism)
a system of governance in which a single ruler treats the state as personal property (patrimony). Appointments to public office are made on the basis of unswerving loyalty to the ruler. In turn, state officials exercise wide authority in other domains, such as the economy, often for their personal benefit and that of the ruler, to the detriment of the general population. Authoritarianism, autocracy, prebendalism.
Patron-client relation (clientelism)
an informal aspect of policy-making in which a powerful patron (for example, a traditional local boss, government agency, or dominant party) offers resources such as land, contracts, protection, or jobs in return for the support and services (such as labor or votes) of lower-status and less powerful clients; corruption, preferential treatment, and inequality are characteristic of clientelist politics. Patrimonialism, prebendalism.
People of the Book
the Muslim term for recognized religious minorities, such as Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians.
the policy of restructuring embarked on by Gorbachev when he became head of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1985. Initially, the policy emphasized decentralization of economic decision-0making, increased enterprise autonomy, expanded public discussion of policy issues, and a reduction in the international isolation of the Soviet economy. Over time, restructuring took on a more political tone, including a commitment to glasnost and demokratizatsiia.
powers that are traditionally held by the states to regulate public safety and welfare. Police powers are the form of interaction with government that citizens most often experience. Even with the growth in federal government powers in the twentieth century, police powers remain the primary responsibility of the states and localities.
Political action committee (PAC)
a narrow form of interest group that seeks to influence policy by making contributions to candidates and parties in U.S. politics.
the attitudes, beliefs, and symbols that influence political behavior; often defined in terms of specific national political-cultural orientations.
the study of the interaction between the state and the economy, that is, how the state and political processes affect the organization of production and exchange (the economy) and how the organization of the economy affects political processes.
a term used by Vladimir Putin to describe a unified and hierarchical structure of executive power ranging from the federal level to the local level, which can be reinforced by various mechanisms such as appointment of lower officials by higher-level officials and oversight of activities of lower organs by higher ones.
patterns of political behavior that rest on the justification that official state offices should be utilized for the personal benefit of officeholders as well as of their support group of clients. Thus, prebendal politics is sustained by the existence of patron-client networks. Patrimonialism, clientelism.
the sale of state-owned enterprises to private companies or investors. Those who support the policy claim that private ownership is superior to government ownership because for-profit entities promote greater efficiency. Privatization is a common central component of structural adjustment programs to curtail the losses associated with these enterprises and generate state revenue when they are sold. (For Russia, see spontaneous privatization.)
a certificate worth 10,000 rubles issued by the government to each Russian citizen in 1992 to be used to purchase shares in state enterprises undergoing the process of privatization. Vouchers could also be sold for cash or disposed of through newly created investment funds.
taxes levied by local governments on the assessed value of property. Property taxes are the primary way in which local jurisdictions in the United States pay for the costs of primary and secondary education. Because the value of property varies dramatically from neighborhood to neighborhood, the funding available for schools - and the quality of education - also varies from place to place.
Proportional representation (PR)
a system of political representation in which seats are allocated to parties within multimember constituencies, roughly in proportion to the votes each party receives. PR usually encourages the election to parliament of more political parties than single-member-district winner-take-all systems.
Purchasing power parity (PPP)
a method of calculating the value of a country's money based on the cost of actually buying certain goods and services in that country in the local currency, rather than calculating how many U.S. dollars they are worth. PPP is widely considered to be a more accurate indicator of comparing standards of living, particularly in countries at very different levels of economic development.
acronym for quasi-nongovernmental organizations, the term used in Britain for non-elected bodies that are outside traditional governmental departments or local authorities. They have considerable influence over public policy in areas such as education, health, are housing.
the Muslim Bible.
Rational choice theory
an approach to analyzing political decision-making and behavior that assumes that individual actors rationally pursue their aims in an effort to achieve the most positive net result. The theory presupposes equilibrium and unitary actors. Rational choice is often associated with the pursuit of selfish goals, but the theory permits a wide range of motivations, including altruism.
policies that take resources from one person or group in society and allocate them to a different, usually more disadvantaged, group. The United States has traditionally opposed redistributive policies to the disadvantaged.
a term that is generally synonymous with government or political system.
the rules that explain the implementation of laws. When the legislature passes a law, it sets broad principles for implementation, but how the law is actually implemented is determined by regulations written by executive branch agencies. The regulation-writing process allows interested parties to influence the eventual shape of the law in practice.
a country that obtains much of its revenue from the export of oil or other natural resources.
above-market returns to a factor of production. Pursuit of economic rents (or "rent-seeking") is profit seeking that takes the form of nonproductive economic activity.
Separation of powers
an organization of political institutions within the state in which the executive, legislature, and judiciary have autonomous powers and no one branch dominates the others. This is the common pattern in presidential systems, as opposed to parliamentary systems, in which there is a fusion of powers.
the six-year administration of Mexican presidents.
Islamic law derived mostly from the Qur'an and the examples set by the prophet Muhammad.
a variant of market reform that involves the state simultaneously imposing a wide range of radical economic changes, with the purpose of shocking the economy into a new mode of operation. Shock therapy can be contrasted with a more gradual approach to market reform.
derived from the Russian word "sil," meaning "force." Russian politicians and government officials drawn from security and intelligence agencies (such as the Soviet KGB or its contemporary counterpart, the FSB), special forces, or the military, many of whom were recruited to important political posts under Vladimir Putin.
Single-member plurality (SMP) electoral system
an electoral system in which candidates run for a single seat from a specific geographic district. The winner is the person who receives the most votes, whether or not that is a majority. SMP systems, unlike systems of proportional representation, increase the likelihood that two national coalition parties will form.
common membership in a group whose boundaries are based on a common economic location, notably, income and occupational level. Members of the same social class often share similar political attitudes, although other factors, such as gender and ethnicity, may outweigh the political importance of class.
democrats who place as much stress on social rights such as access to education, health services, and housing as on individual rights.
grass-roots associations that demand reforms of existing social practices and government policies. Social movements are less formally organized than interest groups.
national systems of contributory and noncontributory benefits to provide assistance for the elderly, sick, disabled, unemployed, and others similarly in need of assistance. The specific coverage of social security, a key component of the welfare state, varies by country.
in a socialist regime, the state plays a leading role in organizing the economy, and most business firms are publicly owned. A socialist regime, unlike a communist party-state, may allow the private sector to play an important role in the economy and be committed to a political pluralism. In Marxism-Leninism, socialism refers to an early stage in development of communism. Socialist regimes can be organized in a democratic manner, in that those who control the state may be chosen according to democratic procedures. The may also be governed in an undemocratic manner when a single party, not chosen in free competitive elections, controls the state and society.
the term used by the Chinese Communist Party to describe the political system of the People's Republic of China. Also called the people's democratic dictatorship. The official view is that this type of system, under the leadership of the Communist Party, provides democracy for the overwhelming majority of people and suppresses (or exercises dictatorship over) only the enemies of the people. Socialist democracy is contrasted to bourgeois (or capitalist) democracy, which puts power in the hands of the rich and oppresses the poor.
Socialist market economy
the term used by the government of China to refer to the country's current economic system. It is meant to convey the mix of state control (socialism) and market forces (capitalism) that China is now following in its quest for economic development. The implication is that socialism will promote equality, while the market (especially the profit motive) will encourage people to work hard and foreign companies to invest.
a state's claim to exercise authority and effective political control of political decisions within a given territory.
a term used to describe the close affinity between the United States and the United Kingdom since World War II, based on the common language and close geopolitical ties, and dramatized by Blair's decision to "stand shoulder to shoulder" with the United States when a coalition led by the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003 to topple the regime of Saddam Hussein.
an economic system that is primarily capitalistic but in which there is some degree of government ownership of the means of production.
the ability of firms to systematically turn state regulations to their advantage through payoffs to officials.
a political system in which the state requires all members of a particular economic sector to join an officially designated interest group. Such interest groups thus attain public status, and they participate in national policy-making. The result is that the state has great control over the groups, and groups have great control over their members. Corporatism, corporatist state.
the historical development of a state, often marked by major stages, key events, or turning points (critical junctures) that influence the contemporary character of the state.
refers to the type of economic system practiced by a communist party-state, including the People's Republic of China and the Soviet Union. Under state socialism, the government (or state) owns or controls most economic resources, including land, businesses, farms, factories, and banks.
the state comprises a country's key political institutions that are responsible for making, implementing, and adjudicating important policies in that country, States have also been defined as those institutions within a country that claim the right to control force within the territory comprising the country and to make binding rules (laws), which citizens of that country must obey. Civil society.
Structural adjustment program (SAP)
medium0term (generally three to five years) programs (which include both action plans and disbursement of funds), established by the World Bank intended to alter and reform the economic structures of highly indebted Third World countries as a condition for receiving international loans. SAPs often involve the necessity for privatization, trade liberalization, and fiscal restraint. International financial institutions (IFIs).
an approach to promoting economic growth that seeks to minimize environmental degradation and depletion of natural resources. Advocates of sustainable development believe that policies implemented in the present must take into account the impact on the ability of future generations to meet their needs and live healthy lives.
Tacit social contract
an idea put forth by some Western analysts that an unwritten informal understanding existed between the population and the party-state in the post-Stalinist Soviet Union, which helped form the basis of social and political stability; the implicit agreement involved citizens granting political support for Soviet rule in exchange for benefits such as guaranteed employment, free social services, a lax work environment, and limited interference in personal life.
career-minded bureaucrats who administer public policy according to a technical rather than a political rationale. In Mexico and Brazil, these are known as the tecnicos. For contrasting concepts, see clientelism, patrimonial state; prebendalism.
a state dominated by the clergy, who rule on the grounds that they are the only interpreters of God's will and law.
refers to countries with a lower or relatively low level of economic development, particularly as measured by gross national income or gross domestic product per capita. Synonymous with developing world.
a political system in which the state attempts to exercise total control over all aspects of public and private life, including the economy, culture, education, and social organizations, through an integrated system of ideological, economic, and political control. Totalitarian states rely on extensive coercion, including terror, as a means to exercise power. The term has been applied to both communist party-states including Stalinist Russian and Maoist China and fascist regimes such as Nazi Germany.
Township and village enterprises (TVEs)
non-agricultural businesses and factories owned and run by local governments and private entrepreneurs in China's rural areas. TVEs operate largely according to market forces and outside the state plan.
countries that have moved from an authoritarian government to a democratic one. Also referred to as newly established democracies. In many transitional democracies, as compared with consolidated democracies, there is less full adherence to core democratic principles.
a method of classifying by using criteria that divide a group of cases into smaller numbers. For example, the Kesselman textbook uses a typology of countries that distinguishes among consolidated democracies, transitional democracies, and authoritarian regimes.
a state characterized by instabilities and uncertainties that may render it susceptible to collapse as a coherent entity.
by contrast to the federal systems of Germany, India, Canada, or the United States, where power is shared between the central government and state or regional governments, in a unitary state (such as Britain), no powers are reserved constitutionally for sub-national units of government.
The association of some 200 countries, headquartered in New York, charged with primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security and advancing the rule of international law and prospects for economic and social development.
USA PATRIOT Act
legislation passed by the United States Congress in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington. The legislation dramatically expanded the federal government's ability to conduct surveillance, to enforce laws, to limit civil liberties, and to fight terrorism.
a political party that claims to operate in the "true" interests of the group or lass it purports to represent, even if this understanding doesn't correspond to the expressed interests of the group itself. The Communist parties of the Soviet Union and China are good examples of vanguard parties.
employed by the British colonial regime in Nigeria. A system in which "chiefs" were selected by the British to oversee certain legal matters and assist the colonial enterprise in governance and law enforcement in local areas.
not a form of state, but rather a set of public policies designed to provide for citizens' needs through direct or indirect provisions of pensions, health care, unemployment insurance, and assistance to the poor.
a form of democracy based on the supreme authority of Parliament and the accountability of its elected representative; named after the site of the Parliament building in Westminster, a borough of London.
(officially the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development). The World Bank provides low-interest loans, no-interest credit, policy advice, and technical assistance to developing countries with the goal of reducing poverty., It is made up of more than 180 nations. All members have voting rights within the Bank, but these are weighted according to the size of each country's financial contribution to the organization. Thus the United States and other highly developed countries have near veto power over the Bank's operations. See International Monetary Fund.
World Trade Organization
a global international organization that oversees the "rules of trade" among its member states. The main functions of the WTO are to serve as a forum for its members to negotiate new agreements and resolve trade disputes. Its fundamental purpose is to lower or remove barriers to free trade, and the WTO can levy stiff penalties against member states that are found to violate its rules. Most of the world's countries belong to the WTO. To join, a country must agree to certain domestic and international economic policies. WTO membership is voluntary, but nations that don't belong are at a great disadvantage in the contemporary global economy.
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