The Evolution of Electoral and Party Systems in the Nordic Countries

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9780875861388: The Evolution of Electoral and Party Systems in the Nordic Countries
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Illustrating how changing laws can shape future elections, each chapter in this collection narrates the history of, and the largely partisan political maneuvering behind, the evolution of electoral laws in the five Nordic countries. Because the chapters are written to a common overall outline, and include a number of standard tables, they have an unusually high degree of comparability a great asset.

Many political scientists in English-speaking countries tend to think of Proportional Representation in terms of the underlying concepts of proportionality and examples that institutionalize it in relative pure form, such as Israel. Reading these chapters, one gains a more sophisticated understanding of the variety and complexities of real PR systems, including the interaction of geographical representation with the principle of proportionality, the practical stakes behind the seemingly technical choice of allocation formulas, the origin of the "modified" St. Laguë divisors, the functioning of apparentement and other vote-pooling devices, the interaction of strategic advantage and normative principles in the development of the Proportional Representation systems, the role of partisan manipulation, etc.

A model of comparative, cumulative political science, and of "embedded system" research design, the book is part of a major project by both Grofman and Lijphart to bring a vast improvement in rigor and systemicity in the analysis of electoral laws and their impacts.

Each chapter offers a narration of the history of, and political (largely partisan) maneuvering behind, the evolution of electoral laws in the five Nordic countries. In this respect, it is in the tradition of A Short History of Electoral Systems in Western Europe, by Carstairs, 1980 (out of print). Yet, it differs from that work, and represents a significant advance on it, by focusing on fewer countries and thus going into greater depth and wider history span.

1. Bernard Grofman and Arend Lijphart, Introduction
2. Jorgen Elklit, Denmark
3. Jan Sundberg, Finland
4. Olafur Hardarrson, Iceland
5. Bernt Aardal, Norway
6. Bo Sarlvik (with the assistance of Peter Eisaisson and Ola Jodal), Sweden

Bernard Grofman has edited or co-edited sixteen books, three with Arnold Lijphart. Two of their collaborations won the Hallett Prize of the American Political Science Association (the prize is granted for works that have proved to have a lasting impact in the field, at least ten years beyond the date of publication: Lijphart and Grofman, Choosing an Electoral System, 1984; Grofman and Lijphart, Electoral Laws and Their Political Consequences, 1986).

This volume is one of four collections on electoral systems originating in Conferences on Political Economy at the University of California at Irvine. The others deal with elections using the single non-transferable vote (Michigan, 1999), single transferable vote (Michigan, 2000), and mixed-member arrangements (Oxford, 2000).

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About the Author:

Bernard Grofman was a Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Irvine for almost three decades. 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 his working focus is on comparative politics and political economy. He is co-author of two books, both 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.

Arend Lijphart 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.

Review:

"This is a book that all scholars of electoral systems or electoral history will need to read, and most will want to own. Much of the historical material reported is not available anywhere else in English, and much of it appears to be first-time reports of primary materials. Quite readable and very well-organized." --Cambridge Univ. Press referee

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