Electoral Laws and Their Political Consequences

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Bernard Grofman, Arend Lijphart
Algora Publishing, 2003 - Law - 352 pages

The comparative study of electoral systems is undergoing a lively revival. In the past five years, over a dozen books on electoral systems have been written by scholars from many nations and from many disciplines (see reviews of a number of these in Lijphart, Political geography, long moribund, is undergoing a remarkable renaissance (see reviews in Grofman, Taylor, Gudgin, and Johnston, this volume). Social choice theorists have begun to link axiomatic criteria for representative systems to practical political issues in choosing an election system (see especially Brams and Fishburn, Fishburn, this volume). In the United States, sparked in large part by the efforts of the section on Representation and Electoral Systems of the American Political Science Association, the history of American electoral experimentation with proportional representation, weighted voting, and limited voting is being rediscovered (see Grofman Weaver, this volume).

This renewed scholarly attention to the study of electoral systems is long overdue. The late Stein Rokkan wrote as recently as 1968, "Given the crucial importance of the organization of legitimate elections in the development of the mass democracies of the twentieth century, it is indeed astounding to discover how little serious effort has been invested in the comparative study of the wealth of information available” (Rokkan, 1968, 17). The long past neglect of electoral systems by social scientists is especially surprising since election rules not only have important effects on other elements of the political system, especially the party system, but also offer a practical instrument for political engineers who want to make changes in the political system. Indeed, Sartori aptly characterizes electoral systems as ”the most specific manipulative instrument of politics” 273)

“A useful volume on the impact of electoral laws...includes a very good bibliography and index...establishes a broader international and interdisciplinary perspective on the methods of representation.”--‘American Political Science Review’


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List of Tables and Figures
Faulty Laws or Faulty Method? Giovanni Maurice
Thinking about the Length
United States Leon Weaver
Australian Experience with MajorityPreferential
Whatever Happened to the Reapportionment

Degrees of Proportionality of Proportional
Social Choice and Pluralitylike Electoral
The Nonpartisan Ballot in
Ballot Format in Plurality Partisan

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Page 24 - I cannot explain by any theory of a natural division between opposing tendencies of thought, and the only explanation which seems to me to account for them is that the two opposing parties into which we find politicians divided in each of these countries have been formed and are kept together by majority voting.
Page xiii - His research on urban services has been published in the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Social Science Quarterly, and Urban Affairs Quarterly.
Page xii - Bernard Grofman is Professor of Political Science and Social Psychology, School of Social Sciences, University of California, Irvine. He is a specialist in mathematical models of collective decision making...

About the author (2003)

The editor, Bernard Grofman, is an authority on American politics, comparative election systems, and social choice theory. He has served as an expert witness or court-appointed consultant in state legislative and congressional lawsuits in 11 states. Grofman has been a Professor of Political Science at the University of California–Irvine since 1980. He has been a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, visiting professor at the University of Michigan and at the University of Washington, and guest scholar at the Brookings Institution, and at a number of universities outside the U.S. His past research has dealt with mathematical models of group decision making, legislative representation, electoral rules, and redistricting. He has also been involved in modeling individual and group information processing and decision heuristics, and he has written on the intersection of law and social science, especially the role of expert witness testimony and the uses of statistical evidence. Currently he is working on comparative politics and political economy. He is co-author of two books published by Cambridge University Press and co-editor of 15 other books; he has published over 200 research articles and book chapters. Professor Grofman is a past president of the Public Choice Society. He is a co-recipient (with Chandler Davidson) of the Richard Fenno Prize of the Legislative Studies Section of the American Political Science Association for best book published in 1994 in the field of legislative studies (Quiet Revolution In The South) and is a Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Arend Lijphart, co-editor, is Research Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of California, San Diego. His field of specialization is comparative politics, with a special focus on relationships between election rules and party systems, the prospects of democracy in ethnically divided countries, and different forms of democracy — especially the contrast between majoritarian and consensus democracy — and their strengths and weaknesses. His best-known books are The Politics of Accommodation (University of California Press, 1968), Democracy in Plural Societies (Yale University Press, 1977), Democracies (Yale University Press, 1984), Power-Sharing in South Africa (Institute of International Studies, Berkeley, 1985), Electoral Systems and Party Systems (Oxford University Press, 1994), and Patterns of Democracy (Yale University Press, 1999). His edited and co-edited books include Choosing an Electoral System (Praeger, 1984), Electoral Laws and Their Political Consequences (Agathon Press, 1986), and Parliamentary Versus Presidential Government (Oxford University Press, 1992). He has also published numerous articles in leading journals on comparative politics and democratic theory.

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