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(p. 19) Section 1 Theories and Methods 

(p. 19) Section 1 Theories and Methods
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date: 25 October 2020

This chapter explains what comparative politics could be relevant for, such as informing the public debate and giving policy advice. It argues that comparative politics has a huge but sometimes underdeveloped potential for being relevant for the various aspects of human well-being, economic prosperity, and social justice that most people care deeply about. Empirical research shows that the manner in which a country’s political institutions are designed and the quality of the operations of these institutions have a strong impact on measures of population health, as well as subjective well-being and general social trust. One result is that democratization without increased state capacity and control of corruption is not likely to deliver increased human well-being. The chapter also considers whether democracy generates political legitimacy, and concludes by suggesting that comparative political science has so far paid relatively little attention to issues of state capacity, control of corruption, and institutional quality.

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