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Heinz Eulau Award ($500).

For the best article published in the American Political Science Review during 1999.

Award Committee: Lisa Martin, Harvard University, chair; Nancy Bermeo, Princeton University; and Bryan Jones, University of Washington.

Recipient: Caries Boix, University of Chicago

Paper: "Setting the Rules of the Game: The Choice of Electoral Systems in Advanced Democracies," APSR 93(3) 609-624.

Citation: In "Setting the Rules of the Game: The Choice of Electoral Systems in Advanced Democracies," Carles Boix undertakes a sophisticated analysis of change in electoral systems. His model addresses a fundamental issue in the study of the structure of democracies. Boix understands electoral rules as endogenous to the calculations of political elites. Elites can, in times of rapid change such as an extension of the suffrage, act to change the rules of the game to lock in advantage. The extent of the threat to the existing party regime by challenging (socialist) parties proves to be the most important variable in explaining the extent of adoption of proportional representation. Boix provides a clear definition and measure of threat, as the size of the socialist force and the existing divisions among the non-socialist parties. The effect of these two variables is multiplicative. Boix manages to convey a complex argument in clear terms. His development of theory and presentation of persuasive empirical work i s impressive, leading us to a new understanding of the strategies of political leaders in designing and changing electoral institutions.

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Publication:PS: Political Science & Politics
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Dec 1, 2000
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