IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Implications from the Disequilibrium of Majority Rule for the Study of Institutions


  • Riker, William H.


While contemporary political science (as, for example, in such subjects as political socialization, studies of public opinion, etc.) tends to emphasize the study of values and tastes (because of an assumption that political outcomes–like market outcomes–are determined by the amalgamation of individual preferences), the older tradition of political science emphasized the study of institutions. The line of research in political theory followed during the last generation has involved seeking an equilibrium of tastes; but it has revealed that such an equilibrium exists only rarely, if at all. The inference then is that prudence in research directs the science of politics toward the investigation of empirical regularities in institutions, which, though congealed tastes, are “unstable constants†amenable to scientific investigation.

Suggested Citation

  • Riker, William H., 1980. "Implications from the Disequilibrium of Majority Rule for the Study of Institutions," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 74(2), pages 432-446, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:apsrev:v:74:y:1980:i:02:p:432-446_16

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: link to article abstract page
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cup:apsrev:v:74:y:1980:i:02:p:432-446_16. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Keith Waters). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.