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Preferences and Situations: Points of Intersections Between Historical and Rational Choice Institutionalism

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Overview

A scholarly gulf has tended to divide historians, political scientists, and social movement theorists on how people develop and act on their preferences. Rational choice scholars assumed that people—regardless of the time and place in which they live—try to achieve certain goals, like maximizing their personal wealth or power. In contrast, comparative historical scholars have emphasized historical context in explaining people’s behavior. Recently, a common emphasis on how institutions—such as unions or governments—influence people’s preferences in particular situations has emerged, promising to narrow the divide between the two intellectual camps. In Preferences and Situations, editors Ira Katnelson and Barry Weingast seek to expand that common ground by bringing together an esteemed group of contributors to address the ways in which institutions, in their wider historical setting, induce people to behave in certain ways and steer the course of history.

The contributors examine a diverse group of topics to assess the role that institutions play in shaping people’s preferences and decision-making. For example, Margaret Levi studies two labor unions to determine how organizational preferences are established. She discusses how the individual preferences of leaders crystallize and become cemented into an institutional culture through formal rules and informal communication. To explore how preferences alter with time, David Brady, John Ferejohn, and Jeremy Pope examine why civil rights legislation that failed to garner sufficient support in previous decades came to pass Congress in 1964. Ira Katznelson reaches back to the 13th century to discuss how the institutional development of Parliament after the signing of the Magna Carta led King Edward I to reframe the view of the British crown toward Jews and expel them in 1290.

The essays in this book focus on preference formation and change, revealing a great deal of overlap between two schools of thought that were previously considered mutually exclusive. Though the scholarly debate over the merits of historical versus rational choice institutionalism will surely rage on, Preferences and Situations reveals how each field can be enriched by the other.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780871544414
  • Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation
  • Publication date: 9/28/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 356
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Ira Katznelson

IRA KATZNELSON is Ruggles Professor of Political Science and History at Columbia University.

BARRY R. WEINGAST is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Ward C. Krebs Family Professor in the Department of Political Science at Stanford University.

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Intersections between historical and rational choice institutionalism 1
Ch. 2 A cross of gold, a crown of thorns : preferences and decisions in the 1896 Democratic National Convention 27
Ch. 3 Congress and civil rights policy : an examination of endogenous preferences 62
Ch. 4 "To give counsel and to consent" : why the King (Edward I) expelled his Jews (in 1290) 88
Ch. 5 Preference formation as a political process : the case of monetary union in Europe 129
Ch. 6 Persuasion, preference change, and critical junctures : the microfoundations of a macroscopic concept 161
Ch. 7 Endogenous preferences about courts : a theory of judicial state building in the nineteenth century 185
Ch. 8 Inducing preferences within organizations : the case of unions 219
Ch. 9 Preference formation in transitional justice 247
Ch. 10 What the politics of enfranchisement can tell us about how rational choice theorists study institutions 279
Ch. 11 Combining institutionalisms : liberal choices and political trajectories in Central America 313
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