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Comparative Politics Problem Set II

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1. (10 points) Imagine that the true level of human rights violations in coun- try X is 5 on a scale of 0 to 10. Say there are four people who code the level of human rights violations in country X using two di�erent measures, A and B. Measure A yields values of 3, 4, 6, and 7. Measure B yields values of 6, 5, 7, and 6. Is measure A or measure B a more valid measure of human rights violations? Why?

2. (15 points) Look at the results in Table 1 below.

(a) Based on these results, does having a Muslim or a Catholic majority signi�cantly increase, decrease, or have no e�ect on the likelihood that a democracy will remain a democracy?

(b) Based on these results, does an increase in GDP per capita signi�- cantly increase, decrease, or have no e�ect on the likelihood that a democracy will remain a democracy?

(c) Imagine you are watching a political talk show and the pundits are discussing problems with the democratization process in Iraq. One of the guests claims that a key factor making it unlikely that democ- racy could survive in Iraq (even if it were established there) is that there are too many di�erent ethnic groups in the country. Does the empirical evidence in Table 1 support such a claim?

Table 1: Culture and Democratic Survival

Dependent variable: Probability of Democratic Survival

Independent variables Model 1

Muslim majority -0.46

(0.28)

Catholic majority -0.41**

(0.20)

GDP per capita 0.0001***

(0.00003)

Growth in GDP per capita 0.02*

(0.01)

Oil producer 0.43

(0.31)

E�ective number of ethnic groups -0.09*

(0.05)

Constant 1.88***

(0.28)

Observations 1784

Log-likelihood -161.41

Robust standard errors in parentheses. * greater than 90% signi�cant;

** greater than 95% signi�cant; *** greater than 99% signi�cant.

3. (30 points) Obtain a copy of Michael L. Ross’s 2001 article, �Does Oil Hinder Democracy?� from the journal World Politics (53:325-361) using

Fall 2021

Comparative Politics Problem Set II

your institution’s library resources. Read the article and then answer the following questions. Note that a part of the assignment is for you to �gure out how to access the article online. (A couple of hints: Google Scholar and VPN � if you are trying to access the article o�-campus � may be helpful)

(a) What is Ross’s dependent variable? How is it measured? What is the main independent variable? How is it measured?

(b) What is the main hypothesis of this article? What evidence would falsify this hypothesis?

(c) Why does Ross believe that having oil might be detrimental to the development of democracy? Summarize the argument’s three pro- posed causal mechanisms in a couple of sentences.

(d) Ross tests his theory using statistical analyses. Given his dependent variable, what sign (positive or negative) does Ross predict for the coe�cient on his primary explanatory variable? (Hint: See your answers to parts a and b.) What sign does he �nd? Is the coe�cient on this variable statistically signi�cant? How do you know? (Hint: The answer is in Table 3.3, column 1, page 341.)

(e) Does Ross �nd that being an oil producer hinders the development of democracy only in the Middle East?

(f) Does Ross �nd any evidence that nonfuel (not oil or gas) minerals help or hinder the development of democracy?

4. (35 points) Obtain a copy of M. Steven Fish’s (2002) article �Islam and Authoritarianism� from the journal World Politics (55:4-37), using your institution’s library resources. Read the article and then answer the fol- lowing questions.

(a) What is Fish’s dependent variable? How is it measured? What is the primary source for the dependent variable? What is the main independent variable? How is it measured?

(b) What is the main hypothesis of this article? What evidence would falsify this hypothesis?

(c) Why does Fish believe that having a predominantly Islamic religious tradition might be detrimental to the level of democracy in a country? Fish examines four proposed causal mechanisms for why this might be the case. Describe each of these four causal mechanisms in a sentence or two.

(d) Fish tests his theory using statistical analyses. Given his dependent variable, what sign (positive or negative) does Fish predict for the co- e�cient on his primary explanatory variable? Hint: See your answers to parts a and b above. What sign does he �nd? Is the coe�cient on this variable statistically signi�cant? How do you know? Hint: The answer is in Table 3, column 1, page 13. Interpret these results in substantive terms. In other words, what does Fish �nd about the relationship between Islam and a country’s level of democracy?

Fall 2021http://scholar.google.com

Comparative Politics Problem Set II

(e) Which of the four potential causal mechanisms does Fish �nd the most evidence for? How do you know?

(f) One of the conclusions that Fish reaches is that Islam is a hindrance to democracy because women are not treated equally in Islamic coun- tries. He reaches this conclusion using Freedom House as his measure of democracy. Why might it be problematic to use Freedom House to examine the impact that the unequal treatment of women in Islamic countries has on democracy? Find the complete list of questions that are used to create a country’s Freedom House score by going to https://freedomhouse.org/. Identify which questions make it problematic to use Freedom House scores to test Fish’s statement that Islam is bad for democracy because of its unequal treatment of women. Explain why these questions make Fish’s statement more of a tautology than a scienti�c statement.

(g) Fish (p. 6) recognizes that one of the limitations to his analysis is that it looks at the relationship between Islam and a country’s level of democracy only at a �xed point in time. Based on our discussion in the chapter, why might this be problematic for drawing inferences about whether Islam is incompatible with the emergence and the survival of democracy?

Make sure you explain how you arrive at your solution � you won’t receive partial credit for incorrect answers unless we can see that you have done a part of the problem correctly. It is your responsibility to convey the answers in a clear and neat manner. Your TA may give you more precise

instructions and is permitted to penalize you for sloppy presentation.

The homework is due Nov. 2.

Fall 2021https://freedomhouse.org/

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