Political Science 540, American National Institutions, Spring 2000

Prof. Frank Baumgartner


Questions and discussion topics for week 10, March 21:


Readings: Rosenberg, The HollowHope


Choose one of these topics for a five page paper if you choose to do one this week. In any case, come to class prepared to discuss the following:


1.      What is the research question that motivates this book? Could a similar book have been written about the Presidency or Congress? Can you name a similar one?

2.      So much of the literature we read concerning Congress had an internal focus that this book represents a stark contrast. Discuss the relative merits of an internal institutional focus versus Rosenberg’s approach of treating the institution he’s interested in as part of a larger context.

3.      Compare Rosenberg and Kingdon, on the one hand, who share a focus on a policy question rather than a single institution, with the more common single-institution approach. How much of Rosenberg’s research is focused on the Court versus other social actors? To what extent do his conclusions rely on these comparisons? Could he have supported those conclusions with a fully court-centered research project?

4.      Review Rosenberg’s theory. How widely applicable is it?

5.      Review Rosenberg’s research. What did he do, exactly? What was the research design? Does it flow from the theory? Is it exhaustive, suggestive, or what? Are the measures appropriate? Is everything important to the theory included? Does he convince?