American Journal of Political Science

Cover image for Vol. 58 Issue 2

Edited By: William G. Jacoby, Michigan State University

Impact Factor: 2.811

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2012: 2/157 (Political Science)

Online ISSN: 1540-5907

Virtual Issue: Sampler of AJPS Articles Funded by the National Science Foundation

With special commentary by Rick Wilson, editor of the American Journal of Political Science

Excerpt from the Monkey Cage blog post "What Has NSF Wrought?": These days, I get to see the results of work funded by NSF. While I completely agree that political scientists (like many scientists) do not communicate their research to the public very well, they do communicate their results to the discipline. This is an important step for generating knowledge. Basic research needs scientific scrutiny and scientific journals serve this role. I try to get excellent research out to the community in a timely fashion. That work is read and commented on by many in the scientific community. That work serves to stimulate other research (not funded by NSF) to verify the findings. Sometimes (and not as often as I would like) the research that I publish is translated to the broader community. Full Commentary by Rick Wilson



Self-Organizing Policy Networks: Risk, Partner Selection, and Cooperation in Estuaries
Ramiro Berardo and John T. Scholz
Article first published online: 21 JUN 2010 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-5907.2010.00451.x

This project was funded by NSF and extends basic science research using mathematical tools common to social networks. This study looks explicitly at networks involving policy makers dealing with coastal estuaries. Policy makers face the problem of the “Tragedy of the Commons” and this work relies on insights from the Nobel Prize winner Elinor Ostrom. They find that in riskier settings (where the resource is the most fragile) highly connected networks spring up and these are important for preventing further resource decline.

Not by Twins Alone: Using the Extended Family Design to Investigate Genetic Influence on Political Beliefs
Peter K. Hatemi, John R. Hibbing, Sarah E. Medland, Matthew C. Keller, John R. Alford, Kevin B. Smith, Nicholas G. Martin and Lindon J. Eaves
Article first published online: 21 JUN 2010 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-5907.2010.00461.x

A project funded in part by NSF. This is one of an increasing number of studies providing evidence for a strong genetic component to political attitudes. The point to the research is not that politics is purely genetic – but that individuals are born with personality traits that carry with them through their life. These are related to political attitudes.

Inequality and the Dynamics of Public Opinion: The Self-Reinforcing Link Between Economic Inequality and Mass Preferences
Nathan J. Kelly and Peter K. Enns
Article first published online: 21 JUL 2010 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-5907.2010.00472.x

This research, funded by NSF, looks at the threat that rising income inequality has for democracy. The findings call into question the idea that changes in inequality result in a shift in mass opinion toward more liberal ideas. Indeed the research indicates that increases in inequality shifts mass public opinion in a more conservative direction.

Settled Borders and Regime Type: Democratic Transitions as Consequences of Peaceful Territorial Transfers
Douglas M. Gibler and Jaroslav Tir
Article first published online: 17 AUG 2010 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-5907.2010.00473.x

Research funded by NSF. This article goes directly to the heart of territorial boundary issues. Using data from a long period, the findings indicate that peaceful territorial transfers (getting states to solve their border disputes) have two long-term effects. First, it radically decreases the likelihood of war between states. Second, it allows those states to more quickly adopt democratic institutions. The implication is that proactive actions in solving territorial disputes (often by third parties) pays off in important ways.

Foreign Aid Shocks as a Cause of Violent Armed Conflict
Richard A. Nielsen, Michael G. Findley, Zachary S. Davis, Tara Candland and Daniel L. Nielson
Article first published online: 13 JAN 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-5907.2010.00492.x

This research, funded by the NSF, carefully examines foreign aid to countries over a 25 year period. Taking into account a variety of other possible explanations, it shows that a sudden decrease in foreign aid results in an increase in violent conflict within countries. Withdrawing foreign aid destabilizes governments, making them appear weaker to insurgents within countries. The effect is very pronounced and persists.

Diffusion through Democracy
Katerina Linos
Article first published online: 4 APR 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-5907.2011.00513.x

This research, funded by the NSF, asks whether international norms affect politicians in other countries. The author provides useful evidence to demonstrate that while politicians are bound to their own domestic constituencies, international organizations can temper those constituencies. The diffusion of democratic ideas appears to have a broad reach.

Social Networks as a Shortcut to Correct Voting
John Barry Ryan
Article first published online: 5 JUL 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-5907.2011.00528.x

Funded by the National Science Foundation, this research points to the importance of local communities for providing information to largely uninformed voters. Much of political communication focuses on politicians targeting individual voters and pundits have long been worried that those messages fall flat. For many people, particularly independents, politics is not at the forefront of their daily lives. This research demonstrates that neighbors can provide important shortcuts for uninformed voters and those voters cast a vote consistent with what they would have done if they were fully informed.

When Does Negativity Demobilize? Tracing the Conditional Effect of Negative Campaigning on Voter Turnout
Yanna Krupnikov
Article first published online: 13 JUN 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-5907.2011.00522.x

This research uses the American National Election Studies data funded by the NSF to address the question of negative campaigning on turnout. While negative campaigning is common in American Politics, it is not clear whether is has a detrimental effect on who decides to turnout to vote. This research demonstrates that the biggest effect will be with voters who have decided on a candidate and then are exposed to negative information about their choice. This stands in contrast to the usual view that those who are undecided will be turned off by negative campaigns.

Who Takes the Blame? The Strategic Effects of Collateral Damage
Luke N. Condra and Jacob N. Shapiro
Article first published online: 14 SEP 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-5907.2011.00542.x

Funded by the NSF, this research points to the military consequences for civilian casualties. The research focuses on Iraq from 2004 through 2009 and looks at civilian collateral damage due to either Coalition forces or Insurgents. The findings demonstrate that both sides suffer adverse civilian reactions when viewed as being responsible for collateral damage. These findings stress the importance for Coalition forces to avoid civilian casualties through collateral damage.