Applying fuzzy set theory to comparative politics

Terry D. Clark, Jennifer M. Larson, John N. Mordeson, Joshua D. Potter, Mark J. Wierman

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    In contrast to the discipline of economics - Which adopted formal, deductive approaches grounded in rational choice assumptions more than a century ago - Political science remained largely normative and inductive until the 1950s. Not surprisingly, many of the first works analyzing politics using mathematical models were written by economists (for example, Downs, 1957; Olson, 1965; Buchanan and Tullock, 1962) Since then the discipline has made significant progress in the application of mathematics to a wide number of questions as growing numbers of political scientists have embraced formal approaches. This has been particularly so in the sub-fields of American government, public policy, and international relations where rational choice models have been particularly popular. In contrast, the application of formal modeling to comparative politics has not had as much traction. Owing to an area studies tradition that emphasizes description and interpretive approaches over theory building and hypothesis testing, scholars analyzing the political systems of nation-states have largely eschewed cross-regional comparisons, let alone formal, deductive models.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationApplying Fuzzy Mathematics to Formal Models in Comparative Politics
    EditorsTerry D. Clark, Joshua D. Potter, Jennifer M. Larson, John N. Mordeson, Mark J. Wierman
    Number of pages27
    StatePublished - 2008

    Publication series

    NameStudies in Fuzziness and Soft Computing
    ISSN (Print)1434-9922

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
    • Computational Mathematics


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