Of all the academic courses an undergraduate can take, comparative politics is one of the most useful for improving understanding of the international opportunities and pitfalls that we face as individuals and as a nation. Comparative politics is the study of political systems around the globe. It investigates not only the governmental institutions responsible for making binding legal decisions but also the formal and informal political arrangements and attitudes that undergird them. It raises and attempts to answer questions about why some countries are stable and prosperous while others are not, why different sorts of governments predominate in certain regions and not others, and why and how certain individuals or groups are able to exercise inﬂuence over public policy rather than others. This text is designed as an introduction to the study of comparative politics. It combines theory with concrete discussions of particular cases of signal importance.