Keith Dowding


Keith Dowding

Keith Dowding (born 1960) is Professor of Political Science in Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University, Canberra, Australia and at the London School of Economics, UK. He has published widely in the fields of public choice, public administration, public policy, British politics, comparative politics, urban political economy, positive political theory and normative political philosophy. His work is informed by social and rational choice theories. He has been one of the editors of "The Journal of Theoretical Politics" (Sage) since 1996.

Introduction to works

Dowding is best known for his work on 'power', applying insights from formal analysis to central debates on the nature of power and structure of power in society. Expanding on the concept of 'luck' ("getting what you want without trying") he argues that some groups of people are 'systematically lucky' in that they are advantaged because of the way society is structured. Such people are not powerful in the sense they have resources that they could use that other groups do not ("though they might have this power 'as well') but rather systematically lucky in that they tend to get what they want without having to do anything. Alternatively, other groups are systematically unlucky.

Dowding is also systematically lucky in his academic approach. He is prone to split hair and often nets up subtle irrefutable propositions and arguments. In 1997, in a paper presented in Korea, Dowding surprised the political scientists from around the world and raised controversy by claiming that Arrow's Impossibility Theorem was redundant. He explained that "impossibility" need not require a rigorous proof as offered by Nobel Laureate Kenneth Arrow.

Dowding has also worked extensively on the Tiebout model of individuals moving location to get the local services they require, showing that such moving does occur in the UK though only to a small extent, and that people tend to move 'to' areas for service reasons, but do not decide to leave 'from' areas for those reasons.

More recently his work has examined why UK cabinet ministers resign based on a large dataset of all UK ministerial resignations and non-resignations.

Recent activity

Recently Dowding left LSE and joined the political science programme in the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University (ANU) as Professor of Political Science in July 2007. This is a non-teaching position. He is the Chair of a network of scholars "Selection and De-selection of Political Elites" (SEDEPE) who are interested in the career paths of political elites.

The Careers of Cabinet Ministers

This project comes under the rubric of SEDEPE. Dowding’s work so far has largely been concerned with ministers in the British Cabinet and thus far largely concerned with their resignations. But now he is working to extend this work into the careers of ministers more broadly, and to extend its scope beyond the UK most notably into ministers in the Australian states and Commonwealth government. Publications from this project include the following:

*Samuel Berlinski, Torun Dewan and Keith Dowding : 'The Length of Ministerial Tenure in the UK, 1945-1997', "British Journal of Political Science", vol 37, no. 2, 2007, pp. 245-262.
*Torun Dewan and Keith Dowding : 'The Corrective Effect of Ministerial Resignations on Government Popularity’ (with), "American Journal of Political Science", vol. 49, no. 1 (January) 2005, pp. 46-56.
*Keith Dowding and Won-Taek Kang : 'Ministerial Resignations 1945-97', "Public Administration", vol. 76, no. 3, 1998, pp. 411-29.A forthcoming book in this series is:

*Keith Dowding and Patrick Dumont (eds.) : "The Selection of Ministers in Europe: Hiring and Firing" (London: Routledge), 2008.

Analytical Account of Freedom and Rights

This is a joint work in collaboration with Martin van Hees. The object is to complete a book on the measurement of freedom and rights. Publications from this project include the following:

*Keith Dowding and Martin van Hees : ‘Poverty and the Local Contingency of Universal Rights’, "International Social Science Journal", 180 (June) 2004, pp. 301-312.

*Keith Dowding ‘Social Choice and the Grammar of Rights and Freedoms’, "Political Studies", vol. 52, no 1 (March) 2004, pp. 144-161.

*Keith Dowding and Martin van Hees ‘The Construction of Rights’, "American Political Science Review", vol. 97, no. 2 (May) 2003, pp. 281-293.

Work on Amartya Sen

Dowding is fascinated by empirical measurement of freedom and rights. He has worked as part of a team led by Paul Anand, Open University, UK. They have been empirically examining Amartya Sen’s capability approach through survey data ('Capabilities and Well-Being: Operationalizing the Capabilities Framework'). This research was supported by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Board. Currently he is writing a book on the works of Amartya Sen which is expected to be published soon.

Publications

Books

*cite book
last = Dowding | first = Keith
year = 1991
title = Rational Choice and Political Power (Hardcover)
publisher = Edward Elgar
ISBN 1-85278-335-4
*cite book
last = Dowding | first = Keith
year = 1995
title = Civil Service, The (Theory and Practice in British Politics)
publisher = Routledge
ISBN 0-415-07568-8
*cite book
last = Dowding | first = Keith
year = 1995
title = Preferences, Institutions, and Rational Choice
publisher = Oxford University Press
ISBN 0-19-827895-0
*cite book
last = Dowding | first = Keith
year = 1996
title = Power (Concepts in Social Thought)
publisher = University of Minnesota Press
ISBN 0-8166-2941-2
*cite book
last = Dowding | first = Keith
editor = Jurgen de Wispelaere, Stuart White
year = 2004
title = The Ethics of Stakeholding
publisher = Palgrave Macmillan
ISBN 1-4039-0580-0
*cite book
last = Dowding | first = Keith
editor = Robert E. Goodin, Carole Pateman
year = 2004
title = Justice and Democracy: Essays for Brian Barry
publisher = Cambridge University Press
ISBN 0-521-83695-6
*cite book
last = Dowding | first = Keith
editor = Gareth Schott
year = 2006
title = Rational Choice (Paperback)
publisher = Blackwell
ISBN 0-7456-3062-6
*cite book
last = Dowding | first = Keith
coauthors = Jeffrey M. Berry, Jerry Goldman
year = 2006
edition = 8th
title = The Challenge Of Democracy: Government In America
publisher = Houghton Mifflin Company
ISBN 0-618-37244-X

Chapters in books

* 'Are Democratic and Just Institutions the Same?’ in Keith Dowding, Robert E. Goodin and Carole Pateman (eds) Justice and Democracy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.
* ‘Introduction: Between Justice and Democracy’ (with Robert E. Goodin and Carole Pateman) in Keith Dowding, Robert E. Goodin and Carole Pateman (eds) Justice and Democracy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

* ‘Stakeholding – A New Paradigm in Social Policy’ (with Jurgen De Wispelaere and Stuart White) in Keith Dowding, Jurgen De Wispelaere and Stuart White (eds) The Ethics of Stakeholding, London: Palgrave, 2003, pp. 1-28.

* ‘Rational Choice and Trust’ in Preston King (ed.) Trusting in Reason: Martin Hollis and the Philosophy of Social Action, London: Frank Cass, 2003, pp. 207-220. (Reprint of Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy Vol. 4, No. 4, 2001.)

* ‘The Civil Service’ in Jonathan Hollowell (ed.) Britain Since 1945, Oxford: Blackwell, 2002, pp.179-193.

* ‘Rational Choice and Institutional Change: An Overview of Current Theories’ in Bernard Steunenberg (ed.) Widening the European Union, London: Routledge, 2002, pp. 21-38.

* ‘A Rational Choice Approach to Political Power’ in Kate Nash and Alan Scott (eds) Blackwell Companion to Political Sociology, Oxford: Blackwell, 2001, pp. 29-39; 2nd edn 2004.

* ‘Model or Metaphor? A Critical Review of the Policy Network Approach’ in John Scott (ed) Social Networks: Critical Concepts in Sociology vol 4: Applications: Political Protest and Policy Networks, London: Routledge, 2002.
* ‘Introduction’ (with James Hughes and Helen Margetts) in Keith Dowding, James Hughes and Helen Margetts (eds) Challenges to Democracy, London: Palgrave, 2001, pp. xi-xvii.
* ‘Understanding Urban Governance: The Contribution of Rational Choice’ (with Patrick Dunleavy, Desmond King, Helen Margetts and Yvonne Rydin) in Gerry Stoker ed. Power and Participation: the New Politics of Local Governance, London: Macmillan, 2000, pp. 91-116.
* ‘Model or Metaphor? A Critical Review of the Policy Network Approach’ in Patrick Dunleavy, P. J. Kelly and Michael Moran (eds) British Political Science: Fifty Years of Political Studies, Oxford: Blackwells, 2000, pp. 196-213. (Abridged version of Political Studies, vol. 43, no. 1, 1995, pp. 136-58.)
* ‘Model or Metaphor? A Critical Review of the Policy Network Approach’ in R. A. W. Rhodes (ed.) The International Library of Politics and Comparative Government: United Kingdom,Volume 1, Ashgate: Aldershot and Vermont, 2000, pp. 173-195.
* ‘Secession and Isolation’ in Percy Lehning (ed) Theories of Secession, London: Routledge, 1998, pp. 71-91.
* ‘Production, Disbursement and Consumption: the Modes and Modalities of Goods and Services’ (with Patrick Dunleavy) in Stephen Edgell, Kevin Hetherington and Alan Warde (eds) Consumption Matters, Oxford: Blackwell, 1996, pp. 36-65.
* ‘Public Choice and Local Governance’ in Desmond King and Gerry Stoker (eds) "Rethinking Local Democracy", London, Macmillan, 1996, pp. 91-116.
* ‘Interpreting Formal Coalition Theory’ in Keith Dowding and Desmond King (eds) "Preferences, Institutions and Rational Choice", Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1995, pp. 43-59.
* ‘Introduction’ (with Desmond King) in Keith Dowding and Desmond King (eds)"Preferences, Institutions and Rational Choice", Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1995, pp. 1-19.
* ‘Policy Networks: Don't Take a Good Idea Too Far’ in Patrick Dunleavy and Jeffrey Stanyer (eds), "Contemporary Political Studies", 1994, Vol 1, Belfast: UK Political Studies Association, 1994.
* ‘Rational Mobilization’ in Patrick Dunleavy and James Stanyer(eds), "Contemporary Political Studies" 1994 Vol 2, Belfast: Political Studies Association of the UK, 1994.
* ‘Institutional Persistence and Change at the Core of British Government’ in Hans Kastendiek and Richard Stinshoff (eds) "Changing Conceptions of Constitutional Government: Developments in British Politics and the Constitutional Debate since the 1960s", Bochum: Universitatsverlag Dr. N. Brockmeyer, 1994, pp. 95-113.
* ‘Managing the Civil Service’ in G. Thompson and R. Maidment (eds) "Managing the UK", London: Sage, 1993, pp. 236-257.
* ‘Government at the Centre’ in Patrick Dunleavy Andrew Gamble, Ian Holliday and Gillian Peele (eds) "Developments in British Politics 4", London: Macmillan, 1993, pp. 175-193.
* ‘Running the Civil Service’ in 'Running the Country', Milton Keynes, Open University, 1991, pp. 89-120.

Articles

* "Is It Rational to Vote? Five Types of Answer and a Suggestion'", "British Journal of Politics and International Relations", 7(3) July 2005: 442-459
* "The Corrective Effect of Ministerial Resignations on Government Popularity", (with Torun Dewan), " American Journal of Political Science", 49(1) January 2005: 46-56.
* "The Bidding Game: Competitive Funding Regimes and the Political Targeting of Urban Programme Schemes" (with Peter John and Hugh Ward, " British Journal of Political Science", 34(3) July 2004: 405-428.
* "Poverty and the Local Contingency of Universal Rights", (with Martin van Hees), " International Social Science Journal", 180 June 2004: 301-312
* "Interpretation, Truth and Investigation", "British Journal of Politics and International Relations", 6, 2004: 129-164.
* "Social Choice and the Grammar of Rights and Liberties", " Political Studies", 52 March 2004: 144-161.
* "Analysing Bureau-Shaping Models: Comments on Marsh, Smith and Richards" (with Oliver James), " British Journal of Political Science", 34(1) Jan 2004: 183-189
* "Resources, Power and Systematic Luck: A Response to Barry", "Politics, Philosophy and Economics", 2(3) Oct 2003: 305-322.
* "Fragmentation, Fiscal Mobility and Efficiency", (with Thanos Mergoupis), " Journal of Politics", Nov 2003: 1190-1207.
* "The Construction of Rights", (with Martin van Hees), " American Political Science Review", 97(2) May 2003
* "Publishing in Academic Journals", "European Political Science", 2.2 (Spring) 2003 and 2.3 (Summer) 2003.
* "Revealed Preference and External Reference", "Rationality and Society", 14(3) 2002:259-284.

Working papers

* 'Luck and Responsibility'
* 'Externalism, Expensive Tastes and Equality' (Forthcoming in Barbera Montero and Mark D. White eds. " Economic and the Mind", London: Taylor and Francis
* 'Are Capabilities Capable of Doing the Job?'
* 'Counterfactual Success and Negative Freedom' (with Martin van Hees)
* 'The Length of Ministerial Tenure in the UK, 1945-1997' (with Samuel Berlinski and Torun Dewan)
* 'In Praise of Manipulation' (with Martin van Hees)
* 'Can Populism Be Defended? William Riker, Gerry Mackie and the Interpretation of Democracy' Forthcoming in "Government and Opposition", 2007
* 'A Defence of Revealed Preference Analysis�
* 'Is Utilitarianism Informationally Poor?'
* 'Tiebout in Metropolitan England' (With Peter John and Thanos Mergoupis)

External links

* [http://polsc.anu.edu.au/staff/dowding/index.htm web page at the ANU]
* [http://www.prothom-alo.com/22-02-2008/samoyiki Power and the force of luck by Faizul Latif Chowdhury]


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