There is a growing international interest in using digital simulations as a part of political science research. Agent-based simulations are particularly interesting, since they allow the researcher to work precisely and systematically with the relation between interactions between many individuals over a prolonged period of time and global patterns in the social aggregate they belong to. Simulations can, for example, shed light on why public grants show leptokurtosis, and under which conditions the norm of property rights can emerge and subsist among egoistic actors. In addition, digital simulation offers new opportunities to investigate causality, and new methods for theory development. On the other hand, new sources of error are introduced. The theory under investigation must not only be validated, but it must be verified that the simulation represents the theory correctly.
Reforms of the annual state budget processes in Sweden and Norway have created a top-down budgetary process instead of a bottom-up process. Informal changes of the Danish process have increased the importance of winning the final vote as well. This article analyses agreements over state budgets over the last 35 years in the three countries. Its results imply that, as a consequence of the reforms, the Scandinavian governments now commit themselves in more durable coalitions with other parties. In a region of numerous minority govern-ments, this does not merely imply sharing cabinet offices but also support agreements and ”forlig”.
Political accommodations are a well known praxis in Danish Politics. The government includes opposition parties in political agreements characterized by norms of veto, loyalty and exit-procedures. This is a crucial part of the ruling of minority governments in Denmark. However, we hardly know anything about the formation and development of this important informal institution. Based on data from 1853 until the beginning of the 21st century, the article concludes that the formation of political accommodations as an informal institution was initiated by strong actors in parliament that realized that the constitution did not solve the problem of building sufficient majorities in parliament. It was only possible to legislate and rule effectively through cooperation among competing actors. Over the years the institution has developed slowly and has since 2001 been under pressure due to notably more breaches of the norms regulating the institution.
How successful is the Russian state in its response to the challenge of economic globalization? The paper explores this issue in a comparative analysis of the Russian response in two time periods: 1853-1914 and 1991-2008. These periods are perceived as the two great rounds of economic globalization in macro world history and Russia is an important player in both. Russian economic backwardness presents the Russian elite with a challenge to the country’s great power status in both periods and the analysis focuses on the success of a series of enterprises designed to strengthen the state and the economy to the needs of globalization. The paper concludes that the Russian response to globalization in both periods can be understood via the notions of state intervention, geopolitics and geoeconomics. The requirements of Russia’s desire to regain its great power status are drivers of Russia’s globalization.
Several theories on the relationship of nation and religion assume that religion can give the nation added legitimacy because it relates the nation to a holy cosmos. In Denmark rightwing parties have formulated a discourse that juxtaposes religion and nation. It is argued that Denmark is a Christian nation and that Danes as such are Christians. Using data from a 2005 election study it is analysed whether the juxtaposition of (Christian) religion and nation, what could be termed a religio-national dimension, in Danish political discourse can be found at the individual level. It can and it seems significant at first glance. A multivariate analysis reveals, however, that the religio-national dimension has only marginal influence upon political values at the individual level. It turns out that the religio-national dimension is primarily controlled by attitudes towards Muslims. This suggests that the juxtaposition of nation and religion has not spread to the individual level even though the juxtaposition of nation and religion should give the nation added legitimacy. It also suggests that the national is separated from the religious at the individual level. Religion has returned to the political arena in Denmark but it has not returned to the general public.
Political theory is often not included in definitions of good political science. That is a mistake, since we need clarification and justification of the norms, which political scientific research inevitably builds on. Political scientists ought to be able to explain and defend the norms that lie behind their research and the strategies they recommend as feasible. Good political science is defined not only in terms of its methods but is in addition a question about contributing to the identification of and solution to important political problems. Normative theory ought on its side to be developed in dialogue with both explanatory political science and the public. Which forms of empirical knowledge ought to be attended to in political theory depends on how concrete its aims are.
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