Political Science | State Politics and Policy
Y661 | 3755 | Wright

This is a particularly opportune time to study the states.  There is
more political action, policy innovation, and responsibility at the
state level than perhaps ever before and new data sets are emerging
that permit scholars to investigate new and fundamental questions.
The course provides an overview of the major lines of research into
the processes of American state politics and policy.  We will focus
on the states as political entities with their varying political
settings and policy challenges, and also comparatively in evaluating
a variety of theoretical propositions about the states and about
policy processes more generally.  Throughout we will consider the
varying influence of the national government on state politics and
processes and how these are likely to change under the politics of
Seminar members who are interested will have the opportunity to work
with the new data sets on state legislators and legislatures which I
have been constructing as part of my “Representation in the American
Legislatures” project.  This includes an array of data gathered by
Project Vote-Smart (including surveys of issues position of
candidates from 1996-2002) and the first comprehensive set state
legislative roll call data.
Course requirements include weekly reaction papers to the assigned
readings, a book review presentation to the seminar, a seminar
research paper on some aspect of state politics and policy.