One Party Government Among Political Scientists?

The Midwest Political Science association has announced the candidates for election to the presidency and vice-presidency of the organization. It bears a curious similarity to one-party government.

MPSA Slate of Officers Announced

The Nominations Committee has announced the following proposed slate of officers.

For MPSA Vice President:
Marianne Stewart, University of Texas, Dallas

For MPSA President:
Nancy Burns, University of Michigan

Ironic, to say the least, but not really surprising. It’s just a garden-variety collective action problem. The fact that they can find anyone to run for these positions is prima facie evidence that at least some political scientists are irrational. (Does the AEA have to use incentives to get people to run for its offices, or are there irrational economists, too?)

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About J@m3z Aitch

J@m3z Aitch is a two-bit college professor who'd rather be canoeing.
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5 Responses to One Party Government Among Political Scientists?

  1. Scott Hanley says:

    What’s irrational? They can put it on their vita, can’t they? Or is the hiring committees that will be impressed when looking at those vitas that you’re calling irrational?

  2. James Hanley says:

    Anyone who could get elected to these positions doesn’t need the line on their vita, nor are they likely to be job hunting.

    That said, my “irrational” comment is a bit tongue-in-cheek. Preferences, after all, are subjective, and cannot, by definition, be irrational. I just can’t actually fathom a set of preferences that doesn’t treat being president of an academic association as a net cost rather than a net benefit.

  3. AMW says:

    Does the AEA have to use incentives to get people to run for its offices, or are there irrational economists, too?

    I don’t pay much attention to these sorts of things. But my (very) limited views into the Association of Private Enterprise Education and Western Economic Association suggest that single-candidate slates are common. Economists are as irrational as political scientists in some respects.

    And, as a logical possibility, preferences can be irrational. Intransitive preferences, for example.

  4. James Hanley says:

    I prefer to think of transitive preferences as a misinterpretation of what is really indifference. It keeps my head from exploding.

  5. Dr X says:

    “Anyone who could get elected to these positions doesn’t need the line on their vita, nor are they likely to be job hunting.”

    I do see that sort of thing in my field all the time–people who want it on their CV, especially those running for office in regional associations. The bigger names don’t seem as interested in spending their time involved with yet more meetings and administrative crap, leaving the field wide open for those who tend to pad their CVs with every tiny endeavor they’ve undertaken in life.

    I suppose the difference in my field is that many psychologists don’t have academic careers. A subset of this group is particularly prone to CV padding and I do mean padding. Some of the CVs are truly laughable, impressive perhaps to laypersons, but laughable to anyone who knows what meaningful accomplishment looks like. In fact, the academic psychologists have long been resentful of excessive influence of clinicians in the APA, particularly those clinicians who haven’t pursued academic careers. The association ends up as a device like the AMA, devoted to practice protectionism, though for some reason psychologists aren’t nearly as good at protectionism as physicians are. Maybe it’s because we have less money to throw around.

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