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May 01, 2013 10:54 AM “Contemporary political science suffers from too much policy relevance, not too little.”

By John Sides

Contemporary political science suffers from too much policy relevance, not too little.  Politicians simply do not like the policies that scholarly research supports, prefer policies (often put forward by charlatans) that better suit their interests, and seek to suppress or ignore evidence-based research that contradicts their own, or their “base” voters’, ideologies.  When these same politicians assert piously that political science offers no policy-relevant research, what they really mean is that it offers no research that supports their own biases.  Politicians accept research from political science, as I shall argue below, only when it assists their own efforts at re-election.

These fightin’ words are from Ronald Rogowski.  Here is an ungated pdf of his article; here is a pre-publication version. They are part of an issue of Policy Studies Review on “relevance and impact in political science.”  The entire issue has been ungated, and I thank Wiley for doing so.

[Cross-posted at The Monkey Cage]

John Sides is an associate professor of political science at George Washington University.