Comparative Politics

Many of the core questions in political science can be addressed best within the broad approach known as comparative politics. Traditionally, scholarship within the American politics subfield maintained a number of advantages in studying the ways domestic politics operate because of the high quality of its data in areas such as public opinion, elite and electoral behavior, and political institutions. However, as the quality and quantity of data on other countries increased, scholars in comparative politics have been able to distill some of the most compelling answers to the core questions in the discipline.

The reason is simple: a comparative approach introduces cross-national and cross-cultural variation into our research designs, thus permitting us to draw more generalizable conclusions. For this reason, at UC Davis our view is that cross-national analysis offers substantial advantages over a more "area-studies" focus. Accordingly, although most of our faculty members possess detailed knowledge of various countries and regions of the world, we have built our comparative politics program around an explicitly comparative orientation.