For a Kinder, Gentler Society
The Evolution of Electoral and Party Systems in the Nordic Countries
  • Bernard Grofman et al.
  • Arend Lijphart
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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.


About the Author

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.

About the Book

This work discusses and shows through statistics how the choice and design of electoral system/changes in electoral systems can have significant and lasting direct consequences for party proliferation, proportionality of party representation,...

This work discusses and shows through statistics how the choice and design of electoral system/changes in electoral systems can have significant and lasting direct consequences for party proliferation, proportionality of party representation, racial representation, within-party and cross-party competition and collusion, voter turnout, and incentives to cultivate a personal vote through particularistic appeals.

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).

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.

Table of Contents

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


Introduction
The focus of this volume is on the uses of and consequences of various forms of list proportional representation, [illustrating principles and electoral techniques which apply as well in other countries] in the five Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.
The focus of this volume is on the uses of and consequences of various forms of list proportional representation, [illustrating principles and electoral techniques which apply as well in other countries] in the five Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.
This work is largely focused on discussion and statistics analyzing how the choice and design of electoral system/changes in electoral systems can have significant and lasting direct consequences for party proliferation, proportionality of party representation, racial representation, within-party and cross-party competition and collusion, voter turnout, and incentives to cultivate a personal vote through particularistic appeals. Moreover, through effects on the numbers of parties and/or on the structure of ideological representation and/or on within-party and cross-party competition, change of election systems can have indirect effects on other important aspects of politics such as Cabinet durability, with PR systems tending to have lower cabinet tenure in office than single member district systems using plurality.
Electoral rules that appear identical may significantly differ in their consequences when we consider variations such as in the average number of representatives elected per district or in national vote thresholds, or nomination procedures, or in even more fine-grain features such as rules restricting campaigning or rules that affect how easy it is for independent candidates to run.
Election systems cannot be understood as operating in a vacuum. Their effects are mediated by other aspects of political institutions and political culture,5 as well as past history and the shape of party constellations. Seemingly identical electoral rules may give rise to very different types of outcomes in different political settings. Moreover, electoral institutions have ramifications that extend beyond the immediate electoral arena.
The full effects of changes in electoral systems may not occur immediately, since it may take time for key actors to realize the nature of the behaviors that constitute optimizing strategies in the new system. See also Coleman (1972) on the effects of party primaries on the ideological structure of two-party competition. For example, Geddes (1995: 269), in her discussion of the prospects for democracy in Eastern Europe, observes that perceptions of government as “disorderly, inefficient, irritating, opportunistic, squabbling and petty . . . . are likely to be exaggerated in countries in which electoral institutions, such as the open list in Poland and single-member districts in Hungary, undermine party discipline.” (However, Geddes also notes that “(l)ow opinions of government, especially the legislature, are common even in long-lived stable democracies.”)
It is also worth noting that choice of electoral systems appears closely linked to other aspects of constitutional design (see esp. Lijphart's 1984, 1999 discussion of the features of the Westminster model versus the consensus model).
Changes in election systems may give rise to equilibrating forces that moderate the consequences of the changes as voters, candidates and parties adapt their behavior to the new institutional environment in ways that compensate for the changes, so as to partially restore significant elements of the status quo ante.
The geographic distribution of partisan support is a key intermediating factor that shapes the extent to which electoral institutions (or changes in them) affect outcomes, especially electoral fairness in the translation of votes into seats.


Excerpt

CONTRIBUTING AUTHORS

Jørgen Elklit is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Aarhus in Denmark. He has published extensively in book and journal form on elections, electoral behavior, and electoral systems in Denmark, covering the entire period 1849-2001. Since the early 1990s, he has...

CONTRIBUTING AUTHORS

Jørgen Elklit is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Aarhus in Denmark. He has published extensively in book and journal form on elections, electoral behavior, and electoral systems in Denmark, covering the entire period 1849-2001. Since the early 1990s, he has also been active as an advisor on elections and electoral systems in a number of countries in Asia, Africa, and Europe, and he has also published on issues related to these activities.

Olafur Th. Hardarson is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the Faculty of Social Science at the University of Iceland, Reykjavi­k. He obtained his B.A. degree from the University of Iceland, and his M.Sc. and Ph.D. from London School of Economics and Political Science. Since 1983, he has been Director of the Icelandic National Election Studies Program. His publications include Parties and Voters in Iceland (1995) and various articles in the European Journal of Political Research and Electoral Studies.

Bernt Aardal is Research Director at the Institute for Social Research in Oslo, Norway and Adjunct Professor at the Institute for Political Science at the University of Oslo. He has been principal investigator (with Henry Valen) for all Norwegian election studies since 1985. He has published extensively on voting behavior and public opinion in Norway, and is currently member of the executive board of the International Committee for Research into Elections and Representative Democracy (ICORE).

Bo Sorlvik, who died in 1998, was Professor of Political Science at Goteborg University until his retirement. He had a long and distinguished career in the field of electoral research. He was one of the founding fathers of the Swedish Election Studies Program in the 1950s, and he played a corresponding crucial role in Britain during the 1970s. Yet another accomplishment of his was Electoral Studies, a journal of which he was a long-time co-editor. Sorlvik's definition of electoral research was broad indeed; he had deep knowledge not only about voting behavior but also about party systems and electoral systems. His many publications include the award-winning (co-authored) volume Decade of Dealignment: The Conservative Victory of 1979, and Electoral Trends in the 1970's.

Jan Sundberg is Professor of Political Science at the University of Helsinki, Finland. His main research interest is political parties and party systems published in books and academic journals. He is the former president of the Nordic Political Scinece Association (NOPSA) and since 2000 member of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) executive.


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Pages 316
Year: 2002
LC Classification: KJC5272 .R43
Dewey code: 342.48/07 21
BISAC: LAW039000
BISAC: LAW018000
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Price: USD 40.00
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