MIT Reports to the President 1999–2000


The MIT Department of Political Science offers a broad-based undergraduate curriculum in political science; provides graduate education and research training at the highest level of excellence; maintains an environment in which faculty and advanced students can carry out original and outstanding research on political behavior, processes, and institutions; and contributes to the capacity of governmental and private organizations at the local, national, or international level to deal effectively and humanely with the issues they confront. Throughout, the department aims to create a community of men and women–senior and junior scholars, students and staff–that is intellectually rich and diverse in terms of gender, race, and national origin.

Each of these goals is important, but essential to them all is to recruit, retain, and nurture an outstanding faculty, devoted both to research and teaching. We have, in the past three years, successfully recruited five outstanding new faculty (four assistant professors, one tenured associate professor), and will be conducting three searches this year.


Washington Internship Program

MIT is uniquely positioned in American higher education to join the concerns of science and engineering with public service. The Political Science Department is helping MIT take the lead nationally in enhancing the education of technologically sophisticated undergraduates by exposing them to the practical world of politics and policymaking, while maintaining a high degree of academic rigor. Since 1994—95, we have provided a summer internship in Washington, DC for MIT undergraduates. The internship’s purpose is not to enhance job skills, but to provide a more realistic look at policymaking than is possible in classroom settings. Professor Charles Stewart, who directs the program, also teaches a required subject on the contexts of policymaking. To date, sixty students have been placed in such organizations as: The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, The U.S. Department of Energy, the Institute of Medicine’s Board on Global Health, the U.S. General Accounting Office’s Office of Transportation Issues, the World Bank, The Economic Policy Institute, the American Association for World Health and the U.S. House of Representatives Science Committee. The program, which allows MIT’s technically-oriented students to experience how institutions vital to their later success operate, also gives the federal government and other policymakers early access to the best young scientists and engineers in America. We currently receive more than 100 applications for the 10 positions, so we are placing MIT’s best and brightest in these internships.

For the past two years, Political Science and Economics have also collaborated on a joint Political Science/Economics Washington Summer Internship Program, which enables three students from economics and political science to join the Science and Technology interns in Washington, D.C.

Professor Suzanne Berger also created an MIT France Program, which will be coordinated under the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI), along with the MIT-Japan, MIT-China, MIT-Germany, MIT-India, and MIT-Italy Programs. Through these programs, the department has placed nearly 1000 students in international internships over the past 20 years. And Professor Nazli Choucri has presented a proposal to the department for an Internship program in International Institutions. The educational strategy includes course work, supervised field experience, research and writing and student presentations of individual internship experience and outcomes.

Public Policy Minor

Jointly with DUSP and Economics, the department recently established a new minor in public policy. The minor provides an opportunity for undergraduates to pursue policy interests in a sustained and coherent way, without taking on the burden of a second major. The core of the program is a joint DUSP-Political Science course ("Fundamentals of Public Policy") taught by Professor Stephen Meyer and David Laws. The course enrollment has been running close to 50, suggesting great promise for the program. In collaboration with the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Assistant Professor Susan Giaimo developed and taught "Methods in Policy Analysis" as part of core curriculum for the new Public Policy Minor. And Professor Meyer developed a course on "Public Policy and Government Action" for this interdisciplinary minor.

New Subjects

Under the direction of the Undergraduate Program Committee, Professor Meyer redesigned the undergraduate Prethesis Reading Seminar and renamed it "Thesis Research Design." Political Science majors are expected to register for this class in the spring semester of their junior year. In this class students develop their research topics, review relevant research and scholarship, frame their research questions and arguments, choose appropriate analytical methods, draft the introductory and methodology sections of their theses, and write a complete prospectus of the project. With this redesign the undergraduate theses have improved dramatically. This year the department again awarded a $1,000 prize for the "Best Political Science Undergraduate Thesis." Associate Professor Daniel Kryder designed a new undergraduate class, 17.197, "Introduction to Political Analysis," which presents a survey of the field of political science for undergraduates. He invites faculty members in different areas of the field to present their research to the class.

Both courses are part of a broader review of the undergraduate curriculum, the aim of which is to provide greater coherence to the major and minor, and more direction for students interested in taking courses in the department.

Other new subjects developed this past year on both the graduate and undergraduate level include: Professor Stephen Ansolabehere and Assistant Professor Chappell Lawson on "Media Politics" (to be offered in 2001-2002); Lecturer Margaret Burnham on "Political Trials" (Spring 2001); Assistant Professor Brandice Canes-Wrone’s "Introduction to Game Theory and Political Theory;" and Associate Professor Thomas Christensen’s three new courses on "International Relations of East Asia," "Chinese Foreign Policy," and "International Strategy."

Associate Professor Kenneth Oye will offer his new course "Science, Technology and Public Policy" this coming Fall term. Professor Canes-Wrone introduced a new graduate class, "Methods of Policy Analysis," this academic year. Professor Lawson offered two new graduate classes, "Latin American Politics" and "Regime Change." Assistant Professor Jonathan Rodden introduced two new classes, an undergraduate class "Politics, Economics and Democracy," and a graduate class, "The Political Economy of Institutions." He plans to offer two new courses in Fall 2000, "Federalism and Decentralization," and with Professor Lawson, the new undergraduate introductory course "Introduction to Comparative Politics."


Professor Stewart is participating in the Residence Based Advising pilot project at McCormick Hall, for the class of 2004.

Professor Joshua Cohen is experimenting with strategies for making his Justice course a large-enrollment, communication-intensive subject–to see how to combine intensive writing instruction with a large-enrollment course.

Graduate Teaching

At the graduate level, Professor Berger and Associate Professor Richard Locke created a new dissertation workshop on comparative political economy and comparative politics. Professor James Snyder, jointly with Harvard University, co-organized the bi-weekly seminar on positive political economy. Professor Rodden is planning a workshop on "Fiscal Federalism in the European Union," which will be held at the Center for European Studies, Harvard University on November 4, 2000. Participants will include political scientists and economists from several countries.


The department continues to compete successfully with other major departments in the recruitment of graduate students. We attracted an excellent class of incoming Ph.D. students, including six of the top ten students we admitted. Of the 16 students who accepted our offer of admission, four are female, and three are international students. The department will also enroll five Masters students in September 2000. The success this year and last seems to reflect a combination of more aggressive efforts at recruitment and the more attractuive financial packages made possible by support from ther Provost.

Our graduating doctoral students found research and teaching positions at leading universities and institutions such as Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, University of California, Berkeley, Rutgers University, University of Wisconsin, London School of Economics, the International Labor Organization, Max Planck Institute in Germany, Tulane University, Univeristy of Copenhagen, University of Florida, and American University in Washington, D.C.

Undergraduate enrollments increased slightly: 808 in 1999—00, compared to 777 in 1998—99, while the number of undergraduate majors dropped from 35 to 27. There were 21 minors (Classes of 2000, 2001 and 2002), and 75 concentrators from the Class of 2000. Graduate student enrollment for 1999—00 was 109.


Kanchan Chandra, who held a prestigious American Academy Fellowship at Harvard, will join the department this year, and will be teaching in the field of ethnicity and ethnic conflict.

Assistant Professor David Woodruff has been promoted to untenured Associate Professor, effective July 1, 2000.

Increasing the presence of minorities and women in the department remains a major concern. Both search committees this past year made special efforts to identify outstanding women and minority candidates. The department received and reviewed a total of 236 applications for two open positions. Of those, 54 were women and 4 were minorities.

Search committees in the areas of International Political Economy, Chinese Politics, Civil Conflict have formed and will evaluate potential candidates at both the junior and senior level during the coming academic year.

We also are preparing a case to make a tenured professor offer to Professor Alan Gerber of Yale University.

Faculty research activities include:

Political Science faculty continue to be prolific publishers of books and articles.

Professor Nobles’ book Shades of Citizenship: Race and the Census in Modern Politics has just appeared from Stanford University Press.

Professor Ansolabehere contributed "Soft Money, Hard Money, Strong Parties" forthcoming in Columbia Law Review (with Professor Snyder); "The Effects of Party Pressure on Congressional Roll Call Votes" in Legislative Studies Quarterly and "Old Voters, New Voters: Using Redistricting to Estimate the Incumbency Advantage" in American Journal of Political Science (both with Professors Snyder and Stewart); "Do Warchests Deter Entry?" forthcoming in Business and Politics and "Valence Politics and Equilibrium in Spatial Election Models" in Public Choice (both with Professor Snyder); and he contributed the chapters "Political Advertising" and Issue Constraint" in Neil Smelser, editor, International Encyclopaedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Elsevier 2000.

Professor Berger’s article "Globalization and Politics" appeared in the Annual Review of Political Science. Professor Emeritus Lincoln Bloomfield contributed "The Genetically Engineered Secretary of State" in Foreign Service Journal, and his manuscript Snapshots from the Fringe: Accidental Encounters with History is scheduled for publication later this year. Lecturer Burnham contributed the chapter "Twice Victimized" in J. Cohen and J. Rogers, eds., Urgent Times: Policing and Rights in Inner-City Communities, Beacon Press 1999, and the chapter "Legal Services in Massachusetts" in R. Kass, ed., Legal Chowder (forthcoming). Professor Canes-Wrone contributed the chapter "Differences in Legislative Voting between Winning and Losing and Incumbents," to the Brady, Cogan and Fiorinia, eds., book Continuity and Change in Congressional Elections, Stanford University Press, 2000.

Professor Christensen wrote "Correspondence: Spiral, Security, and Stability in East Asia" for the Spring 2000 issue of the journal International Security. He also contributed "Theater Missile Defense and Taiwan’s Security" to the Winter 2000 issue of the journal Orbis.

Professor Cohen has continued to serve as Editor-in-Chief of Boston Review, and in that connection edited the Boston Review/Beacon Press New Democracy Forum series, which produced eight books this past year; he also published several papers on democratic theory.

Professor Giaimo wrote "Adapting the Welfare State: The Case of Health Care Reform in Britain, Germany, and the United States," in the journal Comparative Political Studies, and contributed the chapter "New Labour and the Uncertain Futures of Progressive Politics" in Stuart White, ed., New Labour: The Progressive Future?, forthcoming this year from Macmillan. She also wrote the chapter "Who Pays for Health Care Reform?" in Pierson, ed., The New Politics of the Welfare State, forthcoming from Oxford University Press.

Professor Kryder’s book Divided Arsenal: Race and the American State During World War II was published this spring by Cambridge University Press. Professor Lawson wrote "Democratization and Authoritarian Enclaves in Mexico," forthcoming in Mexican Studies this summer; his article "Building Mexico’s Fourth Estate" appeared in the Spring 2000 issue of the journal Hemisphere. Professor Meyer contributed the chapter "Community Politics and Endangered Species Protection" in Shogren, et. al., eds, Protecting Endangered Species in the United States, forthcoming this year from Cambridge University Press.

Professor Oye’s co-authored article "Coal Utilization in Industrial Boilers in China–A Prospect for Mitigating CO2 Emissions appeared this year in Journal of Applied Energy; his article "Regulatory Diversity and Trade: Can the World Trading Systems Cope?" is forthcoming this fall in the Swiss Political Science Review. Professor Posen wrote the chapter "U.S. Security Policy in a Nuclear-Armed World, or What if Iraq had Nuclear Weapons?" which is forthcoming in The Coming Crisis: Nuclear Proliferation, U.S. Interests, and World Order, Victor Utgoff, ed. (MIT Press); his article "The War for Kosovo: Serbia’s Politial-Military Strategy" appeared in the Spring 2000 issue of the journal International Security.

Professor Emeritus Lucian Pye wrote the chapter "Democracy and Its Enemies" in Hollifield and Jillson, eds., Pathways to Democracy: The Political Economy of Democratic Transitions (Routledge, 2000) and the chapter "After the Collapse of Communism: The Challenge of Chinese Nationalism and Pragmatism" in Sandschneider, ed., The Study of Modern China (London: Hurst & Co., 1999). His obituary for the late Professor Myron Weiner was published in the September 1999 issue of PS Political Science and Politics. Professor Pye also wrote the article "The Thin Line Between Loyalty and Treachery in Mao’s China," which is forthcoming this July in The China Journal. His article "Traumatized Political Cultures: The Aftereffects of Totalitarianism in China and Russia" will appear in the inaugural issue of The Japanese Journal of Political Science in September 2000.

Professor Rodden wrote "Decentralization and Hard Budget Constraints," for the Winter 2000 issue of APSA-CP, a newsletter of the Organized Section in Comparative Politics, American Political Science Association.

Professor Sapolsky wrote the article "The Defense Monopoly" in the journal Regulation, and "Restructuring the Defense Industry" for International Security (both co-authored with Eugene Gholz). Professor Schaffer’s "The Study of Politics Across Cultures" will appear in Espaces Temps, later this year. Professor Skolnikoff’s article "The Role of Science in Policy: The Climate Change Debate in the U.S." was reprinted in the Spring 2000 issue of Journal of Liberal Arts, a Journal on Interdisciplinary Studies of the American College of Thessaloniki, Greece, and in Review Futuribles, Paris, France, forthcoming this summer.

Professor Snyder’s article "An Inflation Index for ADA Scores" (with Tim Groseclose and Steven Levitt) appeared in the March 1999 issue of American Political Science Review, and his article "Old Voters, New Voters, and the Personal Vote: Using Redistricting to Estimate the Incumbency Advantage" (with Professors Ansolabehere and Stewart) was in the January 2000 issue of American Journal of Political Science. His article "Majority Rule and the Under-Provision of Public Investment" (with William LeBlanc and Mickey Tripathi) appeared in the January 2000 issue of the Journal of Public Economics; and "Valence Politics and Equilibrium in Spatial Election Models" (with Professor Ansolabehere) appeared this summer in Public Choice. His article "Vote Buying, Supermajorities, and Flooded Coalitions" is forthcoming in the American Political Science Review.

Professor Van Evera published his book Causes of War: Power and the Roots of Conflict (Cornell University Press). He also served on the editorial boards of the journals International Security, Security Studies, Journal of Cold War History, and Orbis. Professor Woodruff’s article "Rules for Followers: Games, Institutional Theory, and the New Politics of Economic Backwardness in Russia," is forthcoming in Politics and Society.

The department’s faculty continue to give many invited lectures, appear at conferences, serve on boards of professional organizations and editorial boards, in addition to serving as advisors for government, private, and international organizations and agencies. Professor Ansolabehere, with Professors Skolnikoff and Canizares, organizes the Senior Congressional Staff Seminar. Professor Ansolabehere also received a Carnegie Corporation Fellowship, and the Weaver Award for the best paper on Representation at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association. Professor Berger directs the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives. Lecturer Burnham received the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Western New England College. Professor Choucri’s research group has obtained the first patent in the history of MIT from the School of Humanities and Social Science; the patent is for an invention of process and product in the domain of internet-based distributed knowledge networking through multidimensional representation of conceptual meanings. Professor Cohen was the Carlyle Professor at Oxford University, and also lectured at Yale Law School, McGill University, Brown, Torcuato di Tella University (Buenos Aires). Professor Nobles has been named a Research Fellow at Boston University's Institute on Race and Social Divison. Professor Posen was an invited commentator on the crisis in Kosovo for the WBUR Boston radio programs "The Connection."

Professor Richard Samuels has been a Visiting Fellow at the University of Bologna, Italy, Fall 1999; and held a Visiting Professorship at the University of Tokyo, Spring 2000. Professor Schaffer is the recipient of a grant from the Fulbright Scholars Program. Professor Snyder received the Weaver Award for the best paper on political representation at the American Political Science Association’s annual meeting.

Sadly, Professor Myron Weiner, one of the most distinguished political scientists of his generation, passed away. The department held a Memorial Service in his memory in the fall.

More information about this department can be found on the World Wide Web at

Joshua Cohen

MIT Reports to the President 1999–2000