Chapter 1 - Introduction Into American Politics Flashcards Preview

American Government > Chapter 1 - Introduction Into American Politics > Flashcards

Flashcards in Chapter 1 - Introduction Into American Politics Deck (27):
1

Politics

The process of making collective decisions, usually by governments, to allocate public resources and to create and enforce rules for the operation of society

2

Political system

The way a society organizes and manages its politics across various levels of public authority

3

Preferences

The outcomes or experiences people want or believe they need

4

Institutions

Rules or sets of rules or practices that determine how people make collective decisions

5

Federal system

A political system with multiple levels of government, in which each level has independent authority over some important policy areas

6

Collective dilemma

A situation in which there is conflict between group goals and individual goals or self-interest

7

Public good

A benefit provided to a group of people such that each member can enjoy it without necessarily having to pay for it, and one person’s enjoyment of it does not inhibit the enjoyment of it by others.

8

Private good

A product or benefit provided such that its enjoyment can be limited to specific people, and one individual’s consumption of it precludes others from consuming it.

9

Free riding

Benefiting from a public good while avoiding the costs of contributing to it

10

Collective-action problem

A situation in which people would be better off if they all cooperated; however, any individual has an incentive not to cooperate as long as others are cooperating

11

Prisoner’s dilemma

An interaction between two strategic actors in which neither actor has an incentive to cooperate even though both would be better off if they both cooperated

12

Coordination problem

A situation in which two or more people are all better off if they coordinate on a common course of action, but there is more than one possible course of action to take

13

Minimum winning coalition

The smallest-size coalition necessary to achieve a goal

14

Unstable coalition

An instance in which three or more people must make a collective choice from a set of alternatives, but any voting coalition in favor of an alternative can be divided by consideration of another alternative

15

Agenda setter

An authority that controls what options are decided on by a group

16

Principal–agent problem (delegation problem)

An instance in which one actor, a principal, contracts another actor, an agent, to act on the principal’s behalf, but the actors may not share the same preferences, and the principal lacks the means to observe all of the agent’s behavior

17

Bureaucrat

Any government employee who is not part of the ruling powers

18

Bureaucracy

An agency or office devoted to carrying out tasks for the government in a manner consistent with the law

19

Public policies

Programs and decisions by the government that are enforced by the rule of law

20

Path dependence

The notion that earlier events or decisions deeply affect current and future policy decisions or outcomes

21

Authoritarianism

A political system in which there is no expectation that the government represents the people, and the institutions of government do not give the people a direct voice in who will lead

22

Dictatorship

An authoritarian political system in which sovereign power is vested in one individual

23

Monarchy

A political system in which a ruler (usually a king or
queen) is chosen by virtue of being the heir of the previous ruler

24

Oligarchy

A political system in which power resides in a small segment of society

25

One-party state

A political system in which one party controls the government and actively seeks to prevent other parties from contesting for power

26

Democracy

Rule by the people; in practice today this means popular election of the government and basic protections of civil rights and liberties

27

Republic

A political system in which public officials are chosen to represent the people in an assembly that makes important policy decisions