Joseph Nye has a useful op-ed in today’s WaPo on the self-marginalization of political scientists. Money quote:
Scholars are paying less attention to questions about how their work relates to the policy world, and in many departments a focus on policy can hurt one’s career. Advancement comes faster for those who develop mathematical models, new methodologies or theories expressed in jargon that is unintelligible to policymakers. A survey of articles published over the lifetime of the American Political Science Review found that about one in five dealt with policy prescription or criticism in the first half of the century, while only a handful did so after 1967. Editor Lee Sigelman observed in the journal’s centennial issue that "if ’speaking truth to power’ and contributing directly to public dialogue about the merits and demerits of various courses of action were still numbered among the functions of the profession, one would not have known it from leafing through its leading journal."
I think it was E.J. Dionne who some years ago took the program book of an APSA annual meeting being held in Washington and showed it to Capitol Hill staffers and political operators in DC to see if there was anything they might find useful or interesting in the program. Nope.
My own contribution to this debunking is to take an APSR article at random, put the basic equation of an article on the blackboard, and ask students if they can suggest modifications to the equation that would solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This usually gets the point across quite effectively.