Electoral Behavior – (Political Science 6367)
(This syllabus is current as of August 22, 2007, but is subject to change.)
Instructor: Noah Kaplan
Class: Wednesday 1 - 4 pm, PGH 392
Office: 431 PGH, ext. 3-3907
This course is intended to familiarize students with the theoretical issues and the state of empirical research on an array of topics within the field of elections. There is a vast literature dealing with electoral behavior. Because of the normatively important role of elections and the existence of a great deal of good data, a lot of scholars have written, and continue to write, in this area. Thus, no claim is offered that the coverage in this seminar is either comprehensive of the field in general or for any specific topic.
Course Requirements (READ CAREFULLY):
1) Always attend class and be prepared to discuss ALL the material assigned for the week.
2) Write a short (3 pages long) theoretically-critical piece on two or more of the assigned readings. Give a 15 minute presentation at the beginning of class of your critical argument. Make your paper available to all your classmates by Tuesday 6PM. The number of short papers/presentations during the semester will be determined the first week of class.
3) Write a 1-2 page-long reaction paper to your classmate’s critical paper and present it in 5 minutes (immediately after the 15’ presentation). Your paper and presentation need to be critical as well. You must engage your classmate’s argument. The number of reaction
papers/presentations during the semester will be determined the first week of class.
4) All students NOT presenting papers (requirements 2 and 3) must submit by Monday 6PM a list of 5 (five) CRITICAL questions based on the readings, which will serve to trigger discussion in class.
5) A final (research) paper.
Course Evaluation is based on the following:
20% of grade, individual presentation(s) with short paper(s);
20% of grade, attendance and class participation throughout the semester; 10% of grade, paper proposal, and
50% of grade, final paper.
All students are expected to attend class each and every time we meet. Only a highly contagious or severely grave disease is a valid excuse to miss class. As a significant percentage of your final grade depends on class participation, and you can only contribute to class discussion if you are present, it follows you cannot afford to be absent.
; Popkin, Samuel. 1994. The Reasoning Voter: Communication and Persuasion in
Presidential Campaigns. Chicago: University Of Chicago Press; 2nd edition.
; Green, Donald, Bradley Palmquist and Eric Schickler. 2004. Partisan Hearts and
Minds. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Cheating and Plagiarism: All students are expected to observe the University of
Houston’s rules against cheating and plagiarism. See the section on “Academic Honesty” in the University of Houston Studies handbook for a full statement regarding UH’s rules against cheating and plagiarism. A succinct discussion of the University’s policies with links to all the relevant regulations can be found at
http://www.uh.edu/provost/stu/stu_syllabsuppl.html. Any violation may result in
expulsion from the University. Cheating and plagiarism in this class will be punished to the maximum extent possible.
ADA Statement: The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal
antidiscrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact UH’s Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) at (713) 743-5400.
nd) 0. Introduction (August 22
th1. Turnout (August 29)
; Brady, Henry, Sidney Verba and Kay Lehman Schlozman. 1995. “Beyond SES:
A Resource Model of Political Participation.” The American Political Science
Review, 89(2): 271-294.
; Timpone, Richard J. 1998. “Structure, Behavior, and Voter Turnout in the United
States.” The American Political Science Review 92(1): 145-158.
; McDonald, Michael and Samuel Popkin. 2001. “The Myth of the Vanishing
Voter” The American Political Science Review 95(4): 963-974.
; Goldstein, Kenneth and Travis N. Ridout. 2002. “The Politics of Participation:
Mobilization and Turnout over Time.” Political Behavior 24(1): 3-29. (Goldstein
and Ridout responds/investigates Rosenstone and Hansen AND Putnam). ; Bendor, Jonathan, Daniel Diermeier and Michael Ting. 2003. “A Behavioral
Model of Turnout.” The American Political Science Review, 97(2): 261-280.
; Achen, Christoper. 2006. “Expressive Bayesian Voters, their Turnout Decisions,
and Double Probit.” Working Paper.
o Downs, Anthony. 1957. An Economic Theory of Voting. New York: Harper and
Row. Chapter 14.
o Wolfinger, Raymond and Steven Rosenstone. 1980. Who Votes? New Haven and
London: Yale University Press.
o Teixeira, Ruy. 1992. The Disappearing American Voter. Washington DC:
o Rosenstone, Steven and John Hansen. 1993. Mobilization, Participation, and
Democracy in America. New York: Macmillan.
o Verba, Sidney and Kay Lehman Schlozman and Henry Brady. 1995. Voice and
Equality: Civic Voluntarism in American Politics Cambridge MA: Harvard
o Putnam, Robert. 2000. Bowling Alone. New York: Simon and Schuster.
o Dalton, Russell and Martin Wattenberg. 1993. “The Not So Simple Act of
Voting.” In Political Science: The State of the Discipline II, ed. Ada Finifter.
Washington DC: American Political Science Association. Pp 193-218. (A review
article; though a bit old, still useful).
o Kanazawa, Satoshi. 1998. “A New Solution to the Collective Action Problem of
Voter Turnout.” Journal of Politics 60: 974-95. (I tend to think that Bendor et al.
is just a minor variation on Kanazawa).
o Kanazawa, Satoshi. 2001. “De Gustibus Est Disputandum.” Social Forces 79 (3):
o Martin, Steven and Ching-Yi A. Shieh. 2003. “Comment and Reply: No Evidence
for Stochastic Learning in Voter Turnout” American Sociological Review 68(1):
153-159. (A response to Kanazawa).
o Uhlaner, Carole. 1989. “Rational Turnout: The Neglected Role of Groups.”
American Journal of Political Science, 33(2): 390-422.
o Uhlaner, Carole. 1986. “Political Participation, Rational Actors, and Rationality:
A New Approach” Political Psychology 7(3) 551-573.
o Green, Donald P., and Alan S. Gerber. 2004. Get Out The Vote! How to
Increase Voter Turnout. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press.
o Gerber, Alan S., and Donald P. Green. 2005. Correction to Gerber and Green
(2000), Replication of Disputed Findings, and Reply to Imai (2005). American
Political Science Review 99(2):301-13.
Subjects not covered include:
Socialization and participation
Life cycle and participation
Activists and participation
Interpersonal networks and participation
Turnout and women
Turnout and minorities
Effect of motor voter on turnout
Mail voting and participation
Election Day Registration and Turnout
th)2. Turnout (continued) and Effects of Turnout on Elections (continued) (Sept 5
; Leighley, Jan and Joathan Nagler. 1992. “Individual and Systematic Influences on
Turnout: Who Votes? 1984.” Journal of Politics 54:718-40.
; Gerber, Alan and Donald Green. 2000. “The Effect of Canvassing, Telephone
Calls and Direct Mail on Voter Turnout: A Field Experiment.” The American
Political Science Review 94(3): 653-63.
; Wolfinger, Raymond, Steven Rosenstone and Richard McIntosh. 1981.
“Presidential and Congressional Voters Compared.” American Politics Quarterly
; Ragsdale, Lyn and Jerrold Rusk. 1993. “Who Are Nonvoters? Profiles from the
1990 Senate Elections.” American Journal of Political Science 37(August): 721-
; Highton, Benjamin and Raymond Wolfinger. 2001. “The Political Implications of
Higher Turnout” British Journal of Political Science 30(3): 483-506.
; Citrin, Jack; Eric Schickler; John Sides. 2003. “What If Everyone Voted?
Simulating the Impact of Increased Turnout in Senate Elections.” American
Journal of Political Science 47(1): 75-90.
o Campbell, Angus. 1966. “Surge and Decline: A Study of Electoral Change.” In
Elections and the Political Order, ed. Angus Campbell et al. New York: Wiley. o Campbell, James. 1987. “The Revised Theory of Surge and Decline.” American
Journal of Political Science 31: 965-78.
o Born, Richard. 1990. “Surge and Decline, Negative Voting, and the Midterm Loss
Phenomenon: A Simultaneous Choice Analysis American Journal of Political
o Leighley, Jan and Jonathan Nagler. 1992. “Socioeconomic Class Bias in Turnout,
1964-1988: The Voters Remain the Same.” The American Political Science
Review, 86(3): 725-736.
o Shields, Todd and Robert Goidel. 1997. “P