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Economic Behavior in Political Context

  • Larry M. Bartels
  • Henry E. Brady
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    Inviting political scientists to tell economists how they could do better work is an act of disciplinary generosity. The reality is that contemporary political science is a net importer of ideas and methods from other disciplines, and from none more than economics. Indeed, some of the most exciting research in political science in the past 40 years has involved the incorporation of ideas from economics. We have neither the space nor the mandate to summarize that research here, but refer interested readers to Gary J. Miller's (1997) extensive review. Our aim here is to offertwo modest case studies of specific instances of overlap between the interests and research efforts of economists and political scientists. Our first case study focuses on describing and explaining participation in the workforce, the polity, and many other social activities and organizations. Our second case study focuses on the impact of political processes and institutions on macroeconomic policies and performance. In both these instances the work of economists has been quite fruitful—but also, we think, hampered by a characteristic overreliance on standard economic models and methods. However, in both areas, recent developments may point the way toward a more constructive research style combining the theoretical and empirical rigor of economics with a broader and more eclectic approach familiar to political scientists.

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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/000282803321946976
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    Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

    Volume (Year): 93 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 2 (May)
    Pages: 156-161

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    Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:93:y:2003:i:2:p:156-161
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/000282803321946976
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    1. Moffitt, Robert, 1983. "An Economic Model of Welfare Stigma," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 1023-35, December.
    2. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1985. "Unemployment through the Filter of Memory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(3), pages 747-73, August.
    3. Anne E. Polivka, 1996. "Data Watch: The Redesigned Current Population Survey," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 169-180, Summer.
    4. Gary J. Miller, 1997. "The Impact of Economics on Contemporary Political Science," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(3), pages 1173-1204, September.
    5. Montgomery, James D, 1996. "Contemplations on the Economic Approach to Religious Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 443-47, May.
    6. Gronau, Reuben, 1987. "Home production -- A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 273-304 Elsevier.
    7. Martin J. Osborne, 1995. "Spatial Models of Political Competition under Plurality Rule: A Survey of Some Explanations of the Number of Candidates and the Positions They Take," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 28(2), pages 261-301, May.
    8. Azzi, Corry & Ehrenberg, Ronald G, 1975. "Household Allocation of Time and Church Attendance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(1), pages 27-56, February.
    9. Pencavel, John, 1987. "Labor supply of men: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 1, pages 3-102 Elsevier.
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