Research Areas in the Department of Political Science
Students who pursue doctoral studies in American Politics will have the opportunity to work with leading scholars of elections, political participation, mass behavior, media and politics, political attitudes, political psychology and political institutions. Some of the topics scholars area actively working on include: the effects of the information environment on political knowledge and attitudes, the effects of issue framing and awareness on policy choice, the role of negative advertisement on political attitudes and voter turnout, the role of political sophistication and emotions on attributions of responsibility (credit or blame) for government action, the effect of political connectedness and dual nationality on Latinos' political attitudes, the influence of social networks on collective action and political violence, and, more generally, how the political environment interacts with personal characteristics to shape political attitudes. We are also well known for our strength in the study of comparative state politics and political institutions, with particular strengths in the study of state legislatures and state-level public policy. The department has ample funding to conduct field and laboratory experiments in upcoming elections and would welcome graduate student involvement in these studies.
Political science students concentrating in Public Policy at Florida State have the opportunity to work with numerous faculty with broad interests and research approaches. Together, our policy scholars conduct research on topics such as collective action, the relationship between public opinion and public policy, regulatory policy and enforcement, legislative-bureaucratic relations, fiscal federalism/intergovernmental relations, and policy innovation and diffusion – using empirical and formal methods as diverse as econometric models, game theory, computational models/computer simulation, geographic information systems, experiments, quasi-experiments and surveys. Their work focuses on topics relating to welfare, health care, aging, the environment, urban policy, state policy, taxation and budgeting.
Behavioral Game Theory
In recent years, our strength in the area of behavioral game theory and experimental research has grown tremendously. FSU has committed new faculty lines and research resources to expand our capabilities in these exciting areas. Students and faculty in all fields with interests in these areas have access to state of the art research labs dedicated to experimental research in the social sciences.
We have a unique and exciting Comparative Politics program at FSU. Our comparative faculty view comparative politics in terms of substantive questions (executive-legislative relations, party systems etc.) rather than the study of specific countries or regions. Virtually our entire comparative politics faculty shares a common interest in the study of political institutions of one variety or another – they focus on developing and evaluating theoretical claims concerning the effects of institutions on political outcomes, institutional design, and institutional change. One area of particular strength focuses on how institutions affect democratic performance as measured by citizen representation, democratic consolidation, government accountability and legitimacy, and material well-being. Other areas of institutional analysis on which the comparative politics faculty at Florida State focus include coalition politics and the government formation process, agency design and environmental policy, the relationship between perceptions and institutional performance, and the effect of electoral rules on party systems. Because many of the institutions mentioned above rarely change in any given country, much of the research conducted by our comparative politics faculty is what we call “large-N, cross-national research”. In other words, they compare institutions in large numbers of countries. This emphasis on large-N cross-national research is one of the ways that we are different from comparative programs elsewhere.
In International Relations, we have strengths in two substantive areas of inquiry: Conflict and International Political Economy (IPE). FSU has a decades long tradition of producing excellent conflict research. Last fall Thomson. Scientific released a new entry in their Essential Science Indicators and reported that over the period from 1996-2006 FSU ranked as the 10th most cited university in the world for studies of Armed Conflict. All of our conflict scholars are members of the Peace Science Society, the Conflict Processes Section of the American Political Science Association, and the Scientific Study of International Processes section of the International Studies Association. As such, students who study conflict at FSU will work with faculty who will help them plug into the top networks of IR scholars studying conflict. Our faculty is well suited to helping students develop research agendas focused on the following topics: Civil War, Ethnic Conflict, Terrorism, War and Militarized Disputes, Interstate Rivalry, Conflict Resolution, Human Rights, Protest, Dissent, and Repression. Few departments have an established pedigree in IPE scholarship, and FSU has a core of faculty dedicated to the pursuit of this line of research. Students can expect top notch research training in this area. We have a proven track record of success in placing students with interests in International Relations at top research and liberal arts programs throughout the country.