Studying Contingency Systematically

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Studying Contingency Systematically

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Title: Studying Contingency Systematically
Author: Einstein, Katherine Levine; Hochschild, Jennifer L.

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Citation: Einstein, Katherine Levine, and Jennifer Hochschild. 2017. "Studying Contingency Systematically." In Governing in a Polarized Age: Elections, Parties, and Political Representation in America, eds. Alan S. Gerber and Eric Schickler, 304-327. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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Abstract: In a series of articles and books, David Mayhew has argued convincingly that "in the realm of primitive building blocks, there is a case for ranking events as the equals of interests and preferences in a seriously explanatory political science." We develop that insight byexamining the cases of gun control, global warming, and others. Our goal is to determine when and how unique events can spur opinion change, and when and how such opinion change can eventuate in new laws, rules, or rulers. We do not fully succeed, since the task is too great for a single chapter. But the cases enable us to develop a decision tree with crucial points for empirical study, in order to help scholars develop more systematic understandings of when, how, and why, contingency matters in political processes and outcomes.
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