Political Science | Political Science Theory and the Haitian Crisis
Y490 | 13151 | Smyth

POLS Y490:  Political Science Theory and the Haitian Crisis
The 2010 earthquake in Haiti brought the world’s attention of the
political and economic failures of the struggling nation.  Haiti’s
relative failures stand in sharp contrast to its democratic and
quickly developing neighbor, the Dominican Republic even though the
two states share the island of Hispaniola.  As such, the two
states—exhibiting very different outcomes—provide a natural experiment
to test competing theories of political and economic development.  In
this class, we will rely on these theories to explore the factors that
explain the vast differences between the political and economic
systems in these two states.  Based on this information, we will
explore what political science theory teaches us about the ways in
which Haiti might rebuild its political, economic and social
infrastructure in the wake of the earthquake in order to avoid its
historic pitfalls.  As former President Clinton has argued, the
earthquake presents an opportunity to remedy the problems that have
plagued the poorest nation in the Americas for more than a century.
This class will explore the value of political science in providing
effective prescriptions.