The Comparative Democratization Section presented five awards for scholarly work at the 2016 APSA annual meeting in Philadelphia, PA: the Linz Prize for Best Dissertation, and Best Book, Best Article, Best Field Work, and Best Paper prizes. The Comparative Democratization section made the first of what would become annual awards for the best book and best article published in the preceding year at the 2003 APSA meeting. (As the 2003 awards were our section’s first awards, they included publications from 2001 and 2002. Subsequent awards recognize works published in a single year, as explained below.)
2016 Section Award Winners
Juan Linz Prize for Best Dissertation in the Comparative Study of Democracy
Bryn Rosenfeld (Nuffield College, Oxford) for her dissertation on ” Varieties of Middle Class Growth and Preference Formation.”
Committee Members: Henry Thomson (Nuffield College); Mai Hassan (University of Michigan); and Christian von Soest (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies)
Committee’s Remarks on the Award Winner: Bryn Rosenfeld’s Dissertation, Varieties of Middle Class Growth and Preference Formation is an insightful and fascinating study of economic development, the growth of the middle class and democratization. Rosenfeld engages with canonical theories of economic and political change to question the link between the middle classes and demands for democracy. Drawing on evidence from the former Soviet Union, she argues that contemporary autocratic regimes often control access to the middle class, particularly through public sector employment. They use this control to exert a pernicious influence on individuals’ support for democracy and propensity to engage in collective action. Throughout, this dissertation carefully and rigorously analyzes new and interesting data on both public opinion and protest behavior, using advanced quantitative methods. It also makes a major contribution by implementing a novel case-control design for drawing inferences on the characteristics of protest participants which can be adopted by other researchers. Rosenfeld makes a significant contribution to our understanding of democratization in the post-Soviet world and to our theories linking economic development and democratic reform. Her key findings also shed light on developments in authoritarian states outside the post-Soviet world and will be of interest to all scholars of comparative politics. She is a very worthy recipient of the 2016 Juan Linz Prize for Best Dissertation in the Comparative Study of Democratization.
Best Book Award
Kenneth Roberts for his book, Changing Course in Latin America: Party Systems in the Neoliberal Era (Cambridge University Press, 2015).
Committee Members: Kurt Weyland (University of Texas at Austin); Sheena Chestnut Greitens (University of Missouri); and Rachel Beatty Riedl (Domaine Universitaire)
Committee’s Remarks on the Award Winner: The award committee – Sheena Chestnut Greitens from the University of Missouri, Rachel Beatty Riedl from Northwestern University, and Kurt Weyland from the University of Texas at Austin – received thirty-one submissions this year. We conducted the selection process in two rounds and at least two of us assessed each entry. We read a number of very good, even excellent books – so academic production on political regime issues continues to be vibrant and exciting!
In the end, a clear winner emerged easily and by consensus: Kenneth Roberts, Changing Course in Latin America: Party Systems in the Neoliberal Era (Cambridge University Press, 2015). What makes this book stand out is the author’s ambitious and successful effort to “make sense” of and bring theoretical order to a topic of massive cross-sectional and longitudinal scope, namely party systems in Latin America over the course of several decades. This is a difficult analytical challenge, given the volatility and variation that these party systems have experienced. Roberts develops a complex argument that systematically weaves together economic, social, political, and institutional factors and thus accounts for the historical constitution of Latin American party systems and their later transformations—a topic of crucial significance for the emergence of democracy, its consolidation, and its potential erosion.
By going beyond the usual focus on the “major” Latin American countries, most of which used to have labor-mobilizing party systems, Roberts identifies a second broad type, namely elitist party systems, which prevailed mainly in the smaller and less developed countries of the region. One of the principal—and paradoxical—insights of the study is that contrary to European experiences, labor-mobilizing party systems proved less resilient to drastic economic adjustment and market reform, the major shock highlighted in this structuralist account. How “neoliberalism” was enacted then shaped the degree and type of change that Latin American party systems underwent especially during the last two decades: where conservatives spearheaded market reform (as in Brazil and Chile, e.g.), party-based opposition from the left led to a programmatic alignment in the party system. By contrast, where leftists or populists were compelled to impose tough adjustment, this unexpected policy switch produced programmatic de-alignment, soon prompted a radical backlash, and thus threw party systems into turmoil. In sum, as Roberts shows, the collapse of state-led development and the transition to neoliberalism fundamentally reshaped the character and purpose of state power, the patterns of association in civil society, and the nature of state-society relations. And this reshaping occurred in different forms according to the extent of lower-class political incorporation and elite party control.
Roberts carefully develops these arguments and supports them with a multi-methods approach that combines statistical analysis with a set of country cases. In drawing together a variety of causal factors, Roberts parses out their specific contributions and speaks to a number of important literatures, all focused on the interrelation of market reform, party systems, and democratic development. The author systematically explains the causal linkages between these diverse factors, producing a superb theoretical synthesis. He develops a sophisticated argument that bridges political economy, democratic transitions, and party politics to shed light on a series of crucial developments in Latin American politics.
By tracing historical processes over a long time frame through the effective, thoughtful use of a “critical junctures” framework, the book offers a broad canvas that richly covers important dimensions of Latin America’s socioeconomic and political development. While the historical paths before and after the challenges arising from neoliberalism do not neatly align by forming a “branching tree,” Roberts puts fundamental categories of historical institutionalism to excellent use and provides an insightful overview of party evolution in Latin America from the 1930s to the 2010s. The book presents a masterful blend of deep history, comparative case study, succinct and innovative theory, and broad connections to the literature. In its focus on Latin America, the analysis speaks to current global debates on democratization, critical junctures, political party systems, and neoliberal reform. It engages relevant debates from across the field, and offers new insights into how the interaction of state, market, and party competition can have dramatic consequences for democratic stability and volatility.
Condensing many years of thinking and research, Changing Course in Latin America is exceedingly well-crafted. The committee unanimously felt that among all of the books we received, this volume stood out with its enormous scope and academic contributions. Kenneth Roberts has written a magnificent book that richly deserves the 2016 award of APSA’s Comparative Democratization section.
Best Article Award
Daniel Treisman (UCLA) for “Income, Democracy, and Leader Turnover” (published in the American Journal of Political Science in 2015).
Committee Members: Jordan Gans-Morse (Northwestern University); Sebastian Mazzuca (Johns Hopkins University); and Simeon Nichter (UC San Diego)
Committee’s Remarks on the Award Winner: Treisman tackles one of the foundational questions in comparative politics – does economic development lead to democratization? – and adds novel insights to a long-enduring debate. How is it that after decades of studies, no consensus has been reached about this fundamental question? Treisman shows that in part it is because the debate has paid short shrift to critical distinctions between the short and medium term, changes in and levels of economic development, and the role of structure and agency. Offering a theoretical framework centered around the impact of leader turnover, Treisman impressively manages to integrate these disparate considerations into a unified theory. While the structural pressures of economic development may have a democratizing effect, regime change will occur when entrenched dictators leave office. Employing rigorous econometric techniques, Treisman shows that data are remarkable consistent with his theory’s predictions. Along the way, he helps to explain a number of underappreciated yet important stylized facts, such as the stronger relationship between economic development and democratization in the middle term (10 to 20 years) than in the short term. Overall, Treisman’s article is a major contribution to the study of comparative democratization, and to comparative politics more broadly.
Best Field Work Award
Pia Raffler, Yale University for her fieldwork in Uganda. Kathleen Klaus, University of Wisconsin-Madison, for her fieldwork in Kenya
Committee Members: Barry Driscoll (Grinnell College); Michael Broache (University of Tampa); and Colm Fox (Singapore Management University)
Committee’s Remarks on the Award Winners: It is with great pleasure that the Fieldwork Award Committee—Barry Driscoll of Grinnell College, Michael Broache of the University of Tampa, and Colm Fox of Singapore Management University—announces that Pia Raffler of Yale University and Kathleen Klaus of UW-Madison are co-recipients of the 2016 APSA Fieldwork Award.
Pia’s dissertation develops and tests a novel theory concerning the relationship between political oversight of bureaucrats and service provision by local governments, combining qualitative and experimental methods that involved 18 months of in-depth fieldwork in Uganda.
The theory developed in Ms. Raffler’s dissertation addresses a critical question in political economy, with particular relevance to emerging democracies: how and under what conditions increased democratic accountability affects the provision of government services at the local level. Pia posits that increased oversight will improve service delivery, conditional on the underlying issue impeding effective service delivery and the integrity of bureaucrats and officials. This theory is directly informed by hundreds of in-depth, semi-structured interviews that Ms. Raffler conducted with local government officials and civil society representatives.
To test this theory, Ms. Raffler used extensive contacts with government agencies and researchers to design and implement a field experiment involving the rollout of a reform that affected local politicians’ and challengers’ access to budgetary information and capacity to exercise oversight vis-à-vis bureaucrats in 260 localities nationwide. Working in close collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, Ms. Raffler managed an extensive logistical operation, including the recruitment and training of local facilitators to administer training workshops to over 3,000 local government officials and challengers and the dissemination of local budgetary information, while at the same time organizing an impressive data collection effort that involved a panel survey of over 2,800 politicians and bureaucrats, physical inspections of over 1,200 local government project sites, and review of local-level budgeting and voting data.
The Committee also wishes to be clear that while Pia’s fieldwork is unusual in its very high levels of funding, it was neither the magnitude of the study nor the resources at her disposal that made Pia’s work stand out. Rather, what made it stand out was the complexity involved in carrying out such ambitious work, and in doing so in such a careful and methodical way. Ms. Raffler’s research provides valuable insights into the conditions under which interventions to enhance democratic accountability may promote the effective provision of government services at the local level. These insights were only possible as a result of Ms. Raffler’s rigorous fieldwork, which required deep knowledge of the country context, extensive cooperation with local officials, and management of a highly complex logistical project. Ms. Raffler’s work is therefore a deserving recipient of the Best Fieldwork Award.
Kathleen’s dissertation looks at the connection between land allocation and electoral violence in Kenya. Her research uses a multi-staged research design implemented during 15 months of fieldwork.
In the first stage, Kathleen employs an in-depth qualitative approach using intensive micro-comparative case studies. To build her argument from the ground up, she did hundreds of lengthy interviews and dozens of focus groups across numerous carefully selected cases. Through this, she finds that land was often allocated unevenly, that it created ‘contentious land narratives’ in some regions, and ultimately, that these narratives resulted in electoral violence in some of these regions, but not in others.
For the second stage, Kathleen drew on her qualitative research to designed context-relevant questions for a 750 household survey. The survey was implemented across regions that experienced violence and those that did not. Given the sensitivity nature of the survey, Kathleen utilized list experiments and also used experimental questions that randomized an “ethnic cue”.
Ultimately Kathleen finds that when the allocation of land was unequal and lacked legitimacy, ‘contentious land narratives’ developed. Politicians could then draw on these narratives to mobilize for violence. But this only occurred if voters believed their land access and rights hinged on the outcome of the election.
In preparation for fieldwork, Kathleen developed a deep knowledge of Kenya and learned Swahili. During fieldwork she spent a significant amount of time engaging with Kenyans in urban and rural areas, and managed a team of enumerators to implement a sophisticated survey under difficult circumstances. Overall, the sophistication in the planning and execution of the qualitative and quantitative aspects of Kathleen’s research is truly remarkable and represents the very best in fieldwork.
Only through extensive fieldwork at the micro-level, was Kathleen able to develop an original argument that placed ordinary citizens and their experiences at the center of the analysis. It moves beyond simplistic explanations based on instrumentalism or ethnicity, to explain how history, land access, local understandings, and political competition can result in electoral violence. It richly deserves the prize as joint-winner of the Best Fieldwork Award.
Best Paper Award
Anne Meng (UC Berkeley) for her paper on “Ruling Parties in Authoritarian Regimes: A Theory of Endogenous Institutional Change”
Committee Members: Ken Greene (University of Texas at Austin); Allen Hicken (University of Michigan); and Edmund Malesky (Duke University)
Committee’s Remarks on the Award Winner: In her compelling paper, “Ruling Parties in Authoritarian Regimes: A Theory of Endogenous Institutional Change”, Anne Meng argues that weaker autocrats create institutionalized ruling parties whereas stronger ones rely on personalist regimes. Moving away from Huntington’s notion of party institutionalization as the infusion of value by its members, Meng argues that the institutionalization of authoritarian incumbent parties should be understood as a commitment to resource-sharing between a dictator and his support coalition. As she shows with careful formal modeling, strong rulers can survive by doling out patronage at will whereas weaker ones must commit to a permanent minimum level of resource sharing through a “a semi-autonomous organization that can enforce joint rule”.
She tests her argument on one-party regimes in sub-Saharan Africa from 1960 to 2005, arguing that initially strong autocrats were leaders of independence movements or created their own dominant parties, making them more difficult to remove than weaker autocrats who were more closely aligned with outgoing colonial powers. Meng’s paper is an important advance in the study of autocratic regimes. The existing literature agrees that institutionalized ruling parties generate political stability, but Meng presents a thoughtful argument about the origins of such parties. Her work also implies a cruel twist of path dependent fate. Initially strong leaders are compelled to go it alone, failing to broaden their support coalition and to establish clear lines of succession. As a result, subsequent regimes may be surprisingly unstable. At the same time, initially weaker autocrats survive by distributing political and economic power to regime supporters and thus may sew the seeds of stability. The committee was impressed with the methodological rigor and incisiveness of Meng’s work and we look forward to seeing it appear in journals and a book in the years to come.
2015 Section Award Winners
Juan Linz Prize for Best Dissertation in the Comparative Study of Democracy
Henry Thomson (University of Oxford) for his dissertation on “Food and Power: Authoritarian Regime Durability and Agricultural Policy.” Thomson completed his PhD in Political Science at the University of Minnesota.
Committee Members: Leonid Peisakhin (New York University); Paula Valeria Munoz Chirinos (Universidad del Pacífico); and Arturas Rozenas (New York University).
Committee’s Remarks on the Award Winner: Henry Thomson’s dissertation is an especially insightful and in-depth study of the dynamics of authoritarian survival. Thomson sets out to explain how authoritarian rulers manipulate agricultural policies and resultant food prices under the pressure of demands from urban residents and rural agricultural producers. Thomson demonstrates that dictators who are especially dependent on elite support are likely to tolerate higher food prices in order to appease large-scale agricultural producers. This argument challenges the common wisdom that dictators are especially beholden to urban interests. Forced to pander to wealthy rural interests by the nature of elite politics, some authoritarians are pushed onto a particular developmental trajectory, which eventually comes to shape democratic transition via feedback loops. In laying out his argument and supporting it with empirics, Thomson brings to bear an impressive knowledge of the theories of political development and masterfully deploys cross-national data as well as a fascinating case study of Imperial Germany under Bismarck. All in all, the author tackles an important and overlooked question with theoretical rigor, meticulous attention to detail, and stellar use of empirical methods, all along remaining keenly aware of the argument’s limitations and pitfalls. These qualities make this dissertation especially worthy of the legacy of Juan Linz.
Best Book Award
Kurt Weyland (University of Texas at Austin) for Making Waves: Democratic Contention in Europe and Latin America since 1848 (Cambridge University Press).
Honorable Mentions: Rachel Beatty Ridel (Northwestern University) for Authoritarian Origins of Democratic Party Systems in Africa (Cambridge University Press) and Ben Ansell (University of Oxford) and David Samuels (University of Minnesota) for Inequality and Democratization An Elite-Competition Approach (Cambridge University Press)
Committee Members: Scott Mainwaring (University of Notre Dame); Aníbal Pérez- Liñán (University of Pittsburgh); and Anna Grzymala-Busse (University of Michigan).
Committee’s Remarks on the Award Winner: The committee selected Kurt Weyland’s book, Making Waves: Democratic Contention in Europe and Latin America since the Revolutions of 1848, as the winner of the 2015 prize for the best book in comparative democratization among the 35 books submitted. Making Waves covers a grand sweep of time and geography with an interesting original research question and argument. Weyland notes that early waves of regime contention in Europe (1848 and 1917-19) occurred more rapidly but with lower rates of success of achieving democracy than a later wave in South America (1979- 90).
To explain this puzzle, he develops an organizational argument grounded in theories of bounded rationality. The earlier waves of contention occurred before political parties, labor unions, and other organizations that characterize modern mass democracy became well-entrenched. As a result, popular contention spread rapidly, but without leadership that took more informed decisions. In contrast, organizational leaders with more information and more seasoned judgments had the capacity to spur or moderate popular contention in the third wave of democratization. Protest against authoritarian regimes spread more slowly, but it was more likely to succeed.
The committee recognized with an Honorable Mention citations the excellent books by Ben W. Ansell and David J. Samuels, Inequality and Democratization: An Elite-Competition Approach, and Rachel Beatty Riedl, Authoritarian Origins of Democratic Party Systems in Africa.
Best Article Award
Jordan Gans-Morse (Northwestern University), Sebastian Mazzuca (Universidad Nacional de San Martín and CIAS), and Simeon Nichter (University of California, San Diego) for their article “Varieties of Clientelism: Machine Politics During Elections” American Journal of Political Science 58, 2 (2014): 415-432.
Committee Members: Lisa Blaydes (Stanford University); Nahomi Ichino (University of Michigan); and Joseph Wright (Pennsylvania State University).
Committee’s Remarks on the Award Winner:
This article presents a unified theoretical framework to explain the mix of clientelistic strategies that political parties may employ in an election with the distribution of voters in two dimensions: how inclined they are to vote and whether they favor the party. The model generates predictions on who is bought in an election, and therefore, predictions on the optimal mix of four strategies in an election — vote buying, turnout buying, rewarding loyal voters, and double persuasion. It further explores how several factors in the political environment shapes the optimal mix of strategies. The article uses examples from around the world to illustrate the impact of institutional changes such as the introduction of compulsory voting, the secret ballot and characteristics of the electorate and party system such as political polarization. This study recasts our understanding of vote-buying and related strategies in a broader context and generates a set of novel hypotheses that can be applied and tested in diverse settings around the world and across time.
Best Field Work Award
Barry Driscoll (University of Wisconsin – Madison) for his work on “The Perverse Effects of Political Competition: Building Capacity for Patronage in Ghana” and Colm Fox (Singapore Management University) for his work on “Appealing to the Masses”
Honorable Mention: Michael Broache (Columbia University) for his work on “Assessing the Impact of International Criminal Court Prosecutions During Ongoing Conflict”
Committee Members: Milli Lake (Arizon State University); Michael Weintraub (Binghamton) and Calvert Jones (University of Maryland).
Committee’s Remarks on the Award Winners: The selection committee for the Comparative Democratization Section’s Best Fieldwork Award has enthusiastically selected Barry Driscoll and Colm Fox as co-recipients of the 2015 award.
Both recipients explored questions related to electoral mobilization at the subnational level: Driscoll in Ghana and Fox in Indonesia. Driscoll’s dissertation, “The Perverse Effects of Political Competition: Building Capacity for Patronage in Ghana” found that Ghanaian party leaders offered club rewards to local activists for ensuring that constituents turned out to vote. Contrary to the findings of much of the recent scholarship on political competition, districts with greater electoral competition fostered patronage networks, whereas districts with less competition facilitated the more equitable distribution of public resources. Colm Fox’s dissertation, “Appealing to the Masses” similarly examined the conditions under which electoral candidates mobilized
support in diverse subnational settings, interrogating the role of ethnic visual cues in Indonesian campaign materials. Among other fascinating insights, in analyzing over 15,000 election posters across rural Indonesia, Fox identified two categories of visual appeals on the basis of ethnicity: bonding and bridging cues. Candidates tended to display “bonding” cues when their own ethnic group comprised a majority in any district, while displaying “bridging” cues to appeal across ethnic lines when the support of other groups was needed to secure electoral victory.
Both Fox and Driscoll demonstrated incredible skill, creativity and methodological innovation in the research practices they employed in the field. Both spent years immersing themselves in their respective fieldsites, becoming proficient in local languages and dialects, and intimately acquainted with regional political culture. Both employed an impressive combination of methodological approaches in order to develop, substantiate, test and refine their arguments.
Over the course of his research in Ghana, Driscoll implemented a comprehensive survey of tax collection and public goods provision in 88% of Ghana’s 170 local governments. He supplemented this work with exciting ethnographic and interview-based research with civil servants and market traders across the country, offering crucial new insights into the realities of tax collection and public goods provision in areas of weak state capacity. Fox, on the other hand, spent nearly two years collecting and and photographing campaign materials in a convenience sample of nine district elections to create the largest dataset of election posters ever gathered. Additionally, he employed a rigorous analysis of election-related news coverage from 1997 to 2011 and months of immersive observational research in selected districts in order to deepen his understanding of the types of ethic appeals made by candidates.
The committee is also delighted to extend an honorable mention to Michael Broache for his dissertation: “Assessing the Impact of International Criminal Court Prosecutions During Ongoing Conflict”. Broache’s research into combatant responses to ICC prosecutions in the Democratic Republic of Congo presented powerful military and rebel elites with hypothetical scenarios in order to assess their knowledge, behavior and decision-making processes on the battlefield. Broache conducted in-depth interviews in a highly volatile research environment, at times placing himself at considerable personal risk, in order to shed light on an important topic in comparative politics and international relations for which existing data is notoriously thin.
The committee extends heartfelt congratulations to each of the recipients of this year’s award.
Best Paper Award
Kenneth Greene (University of Texas at Austin) for his paper on “Ousting Autocrats: The Political Economy of Hybrid Autocracy.”
Committee Members: Christian Houle (Michigan State University); Michael Albertus (University of Chicago); and Ryan Kennedy (University of Houston).
Committee’s Remarks on the Award Winner: We are pleased to award the best paper prize in comparative democratization to Kenneth Greene’s paper ‘Ousting Autocrats: The Political Economy of Hybrid Autocracy.’ Kenneth Greene develops an innovative argument according to which the capacity of incumbents in competitive authoritarian regimes to retain power depends primarily on their ability to politicize public resources. He supports his argument using both quantitative and qualitative evidence. This paper has the potential to make a very valuable contribution to diverse subfields, such as the study of comparative authoritarian regimes, of the incumbency advantage and of regime transitions.
2014 Award Winners
Juan Linz Dissertation Award Co-Winners:
Paula Valeria Munoz (UT Austin) for “Campaign Clientelism in Peru: An Informational Theory”; Leonid Pesakhin (Yale University) for “Long Shadow of the Past: Identity, Norms, and Political Behavior”
This year’s award committee included Gwyneth McClendon (Harvard University) (chair), John D. Stephens (University of North Carolina), Noam Lupu (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Commitee Remarks on the Award Winners: “Paula Valeria Muñoz’s dissertation, Campaign Clientelism in Peru, is a rich empirical examination of clientelist electoral strategies in a setting of weak party organizations. Focusing on Peru, she outlines a theory of the informational role that clientelistic practices play in the absence of political machines: by providing material incentives for voters to participate in mass rallies and other campaign events, she argues, politicians who cannot rely on powerful party brands or allegiances demonstrate their strength and electoral promise. Using an impressive combination of observational survey data, focus groups, field observation and a survey experiment, Muñoz digs deeply for the observable implications of her theory. The resulting dissertation is both a pleasure to read and remarkably incisive, especially since it investigates a type of behavior that is not typically recorded or publicized in a systematic way. Although the study of clientelism is an area of comparative democratization that is already filled with impressive and important work, Muñoz’s dissertation makes an empirically rich contribution that could easily extend to weakly institutionalized party systems in other developing countries.
The committee is also extremely pleased to award the Linz Prize to Leonid Pesakhin’s dissertation, Long Shadow of the Past: Identity, Norms, and Political Behavior. This dissertation masterfully sheds light on the ways in which past political institutions and arrangements can influence present political identities, attitudes and behavior. Joining other studies employing clever natural experiments, Pesakhin situates his empirical investigation along the now-defunct border of the Austrian and Russian empires in contemporary Ukraine, convincingly arguing that the exact placement of the part of the border between the two that he examines was arbitrary, thus “as-if” randomly dividing otherwise similar people into different political arrangements and into different national communities for well over a century. Pesakhin then presents results from an original interview-based survey that he conducted of more than 1600 rural villagers living on either side of that border and uses the survey responses to explore the ways in which the “invisible line” of that now-defunct border continues to influences the identities and political attitudes of these citizens. Most impressive, Pesakhin conducts comparisons of different historical regions within the geographical bands around the arbitrary border, in order to identify mechanisms by which local elites, particularly through schools and churches, carry the past into the present. Pesakhin’s dissertation cannot help but compel a more nuanced conceptualization of comparative democratic behavior from its readers.
Best Book Award Co-Winners: Scott Mainwaring (University of Notre Dame) and Aníbal Pérez-Liñán (University of Pittsburgh) for Democracies and Dictatorships in Latin America: Emergence, Survival, and Fall (Cambridge, 2014); Susan C. Stokes (Yale University), Thad Dunning (Yale University), Marcelo Nazareno (Universidad Nacional de Córdoba), and Valeria Brusco (Universidad Nacional de Córdoba) for Brokers, Voters, and Clientelism: The Puzzle of Distributive Politics (Cambridge, 2013).
This year’s committee includedMilan Svolik (University of Illinois at Urbana Champagn) (chair), Michael Coppedge (University of Notre Dame), and Dali Yang (University of Chicago)
Committee Remarks on the Award
Winners: We reviewed 29 nominated books and after carefully deliberating decided to award this’s year’s best book prize to two books. The first awarded book is “Brokers, Voters, and Clientelism” by Susan Stokes, Thad Dunning, Marcelo Nazareno, and Valeria Brusco; the second awarded book is “Democracies and Dictatorships in Latin America” by Scott Mainwaring and Aníbal Pérez-Liñán.
“Brokers, Voters, and Clientelism” addresses a number of key questions in the study of accountability, clientelism, and redistributive politics: Why do we observe clientelistic politics in some countries but programmatic redistribution in other? Why do clientelistic parties reward core instead of swing voters? Why is clientelism so pervasive in developing countries but rare in advanced democracies?
The book’s key theoretical innovation is to focus brokers – the local intermediaries that link the party leadership to the voters. Brokers help parties address a major informational problem in the clientelistic exchange of votes for benefits: Who are the voters can be swayed by the promise of a particularistic reward? How do we distinguish them from those voters that have already made up their mind about whether to vote for or against the party? This is what brokers know. Yet by holding that information brokers also gain power and thus create an agency problem for the machine: They may favor loyal, core voters instead the politically crucial swing voters or even misappropriate resources.
“Brokers, Voters, and Clientelism” employs this theoretical insight to explain not only key empirical regularities in clientelistic politics but also its persistence and demise. Economic development and urbanization make it harder for brokers to form or maintain the personal relationships that are the source of their political indispensability. Once brokers become obsolete, party leaders are happy to trade them in favor policies that are more effective in developed democracies – that is mass, programmatic redistribution. “Brokers, Voters, and Clientelism” thus helps us understand the transition from clientelistic to programmatic redistributive policies – a key step in the process of democratic consolidation.
“Democracies and Dictatorships in Latin America”, the co-winner of this year’s best book award, gives the most comprehensive analysis to date of the emergence, survival, and fall of democracy and dictatorship in Latin America since 1900.
In order to explain regime outcomes, the authors examine the political preferences of key, powerful actors; that is, presidents, the leaders of parties, unions, and business associations, and the military. A major innovation in “Democracies and Dictatorships in Latin America” is the authors’ focus on the extent to which these actors favor democracy as an intrinsically desirable end — whether they believe that democracy is the best political regime even if it does not favor their substantive economic interests. The second explanatory factor in the book is the international environment. Notably, the authors disentangle the effects of regional regime diffusion from the consequences of the shift toward democracy promotion in American foreign policy.
“Democracies and Dictatorships in Latin America” also makes an impressive empirical contribution to the study of democratization and Latin American politics. It presents a new classification of regimes into democratic, semi-democratic, and authoritarian between 1900 and 2010 in all of Latin America. Moreover, for each of the countries in the region throughout the period 1944-2010, the book identifies key actors under each administration and codes their attitudes toward democracy as well as the degree of their political moderation or radicalism. This data will be an invaluable resource for future research on Latin America.
Best Article Award: Lisa Blaydes (Stanford University) and Eric Chaney (Harvard University) for “The Feudal Revolution and Europe’s Rise: Political Divergence of the Christian West and the Muslim World before 1500 CE,” published in the February 2013 American Political Science Review
This year’s award committee included Robert D. Woodberry (National University of Singapore) (chair), John Gerring (Boston University), John A. Doces (Bucknell University)
Commtitee Remarks on the Award Winners: “Lisa Blaydes and Eric Chaney. 2013. “The Feudal Revolution and Europe’s Rise: Political Divergence of the Christian West and the Muslim World before 1550 CE.” American Political Science Review.
Some articles are great because they answer an old question decisively, other articles are great because they provide a new perspective on an old question and provide new data for analyzing that question in a way that opens up debate. “The Feudal Revolution” by Blaydes and Chaney is this later type of article.
Many scholars have puzzled over why the Muslim world was politically, militarily and technologically superior to Europe in earlier periods, but later fell behind. Many scholars have also debated why Europe (or at least parts of it) developed greater rule of law, early parliamentary organizations and earlier democracy. Blaydes and Chaney suggest that one important factor was the rise of feudalism in Western Europe. According to them, because the fall of the Roman Empire was more complete in the West than the East, successor Empires (i.e., the Carolingians) could not rely on an established bureaucracy and thus could not extract sufficient tax resources to maintain a standing army. Thus, they relied on networks of local landowners who paid taxes in the form of soldiers and knights in times of war. However, because these soldiers and knights were not directly under the king, local elites had greater power relative to the sovereign and were able to limit his power. The negotiations of kings with local barons, lords, and bishops created the foundation for parliaments and resulted in greater protection of private property, ultimately (ironically) creating greater political stability and longer life expectancies for kings. However in the East, Muslim rulers were able to take over earlier Byzantine and Persian bureaucracies and thus were able to extract more taxes and established standing armies of foreign slaves (Mamlukes). As a result, local elites had less ability to limit abused by sultans, rule of law suffered, parliaments were not established, and political instability increased. Thus, ironically, sultans had shorter reigns and were more likely to be overthrown.
Blaydes and Chaney attempt to demonstrate their thesis with a major new dataset which codes the lengths of reigns of the vast majority of rulers in Europe and the Near East and geocodes the borders of the polities these rulers controlled. They also employ a series of clever experiments using the timing of change and regional variation in the patterns to test the plausibility of their preferred explanation versus other explanations.
No one article can adequately deal with all the complexities of 1,000 years of history over such a broad region of the world. As I read I kept on thinking of alternative explanations such as the Gregorian legal reforms circa 1050-1080, the timing of when the Byzantines were being defeated or ruled by Venetian invaders (which can shorten lengths of reigns), etc. I also wished for more precise data about the actual implementation of feudalism and other competing explanations. But what impressed me (and other members of the committee) was that Blaydes and Chaney provided data that could allow us to plausibly make comparisons over such a long period of time, over such diverse settings; and that they made their argument in such an elegant and clever way. While this article will not shut down any of the debates it takes on, it will hopefully get scholars thinking about new factors that may have influenced the rise of parliaments and the rule of law and scurrying to find additional data to test these and other explanations even more rigorously. We look forward to the debate.
Best Field Work Award: Milli Lake (Arizona State University)
Honorable Mention: Calvert Jones (City College of New York)
This year’s award committee included Adam Auerbach (University of Notre Dame) (chair), Sarah Parkinson (University of Minnesota), Jill Schwedler (Hunter College)
Committee Remarks on the Award Winners: The 2014 selection committee has very enthusiastically selected Milli Lake to receive the Best Fieldwork Award from the Comparative Democratization Section of APSA for her dissertation, “The Politics of Punishment: Politics, Power and the State in Judicial Responses to Gender Violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa.” Situated in an environment of dramatic violence, social conflict, and weak state institutions, Congolese courts have been remarkably progressive in advancing human rights law, particularly toward the protection of victims of gender-based violence. Lake finds that the weak state presence in the DRC has allowed international NGOs to directly encourage courts in the realm of human rights law and protection for victims of violence. The selection committee was deeply impressed with Lake’s fieldwork on several fronts. Lake spent over a year in the DRC collecting original court documents, observing court proceedings, conducting interviews and focus groups, and administering a survey among victims of gender-based violence. She additionally spent several months conducting comparative fieldwork on the same issues in South Africa. The committee was particularly impressed by her drive to represent under-studied populations in comparative research and her simultaneous awareness of the risks of re-traumatization. For these many reasons, we are pleased to name Milli Lake the receipt of the 2014 Best Fieldwork Award from the Comparative Democratization Section.
The 2014 selection committee is also pleased to award Calvert Jones with an Honorable Mention for her deeply innovative, multi-method fieldwork conducted in the United Arab Emirates. Jones’s dissertation, “Bedouins into Bourgeois? Social Engineering for a Market Economy in the United Arab Emirates,” examines how state leaders attempt to craft more entrepreneurial and innovative citizens who are ready to compete economically while at the same time being less reliant on the state and less likely to engage in contentious political action. To these ends, leaders have brought in international teachers and organizations to educate and construct a new UAE citizen. Jones’s research, however, reveals a critical unforeseen consequence—these efforts of social engineering have served to further encourage attitudes of entitlement and suppress entrepreneurism. Fearing dismissal, teachers and staff excessively praise students and do not challenge problems existing in the current system. Themes of nationalism further undermine the crafting of an entrepreneurial citizen. Jones’s fieldwork involved the deployment of an impressive set of methods—ethnography, interviews, and a survey of approximately 2000 Emirati high-school students. It provides an exemplar of multi-method fieldwork technique and data triangulation. Jones’s research thus represents a significant contribution to scholarship on the political sociology of citizens and the state.
Best Paper Award: Christian Houle (Michigan State University), for “Ethnic Inequality and the Dismantling of Democracy: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa”
This year’s award committee included Olukunle P. Owolabi (Villanova University) (chair), Carlos Gervasoni (Universidad Torcuato Di Tella), Maya Tudor (Blavatnik School of Government)
Committee Remarks on the Award Winner: “We found Houle’s paper to be particularly innovative, as he develops new indicators to measure ethnic inequality (between group inequality) and class inequality (within-group inequality) in 14 Sub-Saharan democracies, from 1980 to 2005. His main finding, that ethnic inequality is particularly harmful for democracy when class inequality is low, contributes to social science literature on ethnicity, inequality, and democratization. This paper has a tremendous amount of potential, although there are still one or two methodological ambiguities that need to be worked out. We are pleased to award Christian Houle the best paper in comparative democratization, and we look forward to seeing this article in print in the near future.”
2013 Award Winners
Juan Linz Dissertation Award: Gwyneth H. McClendon (Yale University) for her dissertation “The Politics of Envy and
Esteem in Two Democracies.”
This year’s award committee included Allen Hicken (University of Michigan) (chair), Daniel Gingerich (University of
Virginia), and Nic Cheeseman (Oxford University).
Committee Remarks on the Award Winners: “This year the committee for Juan Linz Dissertation Award consisted of Nic Cheeseman, Daniel Gingerich, and Allen Hicken. We received and reviewed a substantial number of outstanding
dissertations, many of which are worthy of recognition. However, the committee agreed that this year the Linz Award should go to Gwyneth H. McClendon for her dissertation “The Politics of Envy and Esteem in Two Democracies.”
Dr. McClendon’s dissertation draws on insights from social psychology and behavioral economics to explain why, under
certain circumstances, individuals prefer outcomes that objectively make them materially worse off. Specifically, she focuses on three major puzzles in political science and comparative politics: First, why do democracies sometimes fail to meet the needs of their citizens, even when there are Pareto-improving opportunities that states could readily pursue? Second, why do citizens sometimes vote for redistribution schemes that are in conflict with their material interests? Finally, why do certain citizens choose to participate in protests and other forms of political collective action when they could free-ride?
Dr. McClendon argues that individuals care about more than simply maximizing their material well-being. Specifically, they care deeply about their relative status vis-à-vis others within their same or similar group (for example, neighbors or co-ethnics). Envy, spite, and the desire for esteem can be powerful motivations for behavior. Highwithin groups status has distinct value, and in certain contexts, citizens will pursue it, even at the expense of their material interests.
The dissertation takes great care to define, both intuitively and formally, what is meant by within-group status concerns, and to distinguish this concept (theoretically and empirically) from similar concepts, such as relative deprivation, status anxiety, and last-place aversion. It builds a theory of how within group-status concerns might
influence political behavior. Specifically, certain contextual triggers (for example, high levels of within-group inequality) raise the salience of within-group status concerns. Within group status concerns can, depending on the context, encourage greater participation, or lead citizens to favor a “leveling down” of assets and incomes within
neighborhoods and among group members.
Dr. McClendon evaluates her argument by drawing on data from both the U.S. and South Africa.
In South Africa she is able to show that where social status concerns have been triggered citizens are more likely to oppose Pareto improving provision of low-income housing, and as a result, such housing is undersupplied while resources for constructing low-income housing go unused.
Drawing on attitudinal and demographic survey data from both countries, she demonstrates that, consistent with her theory, social status concerns shape respondents’ attitudes towards redistribution. In South Africa, where inequality among neighboring co-ethnics has dramatically increased the correlation between within-group status and support for distribution is large and negative.
In the U.S. case, where status concerns are salient the degree to which the median voter is economically distant from rich group members while also close to poor group members correlates with the median voter’s support for anti-redistribution policies.
Finally, using a field experiment she finds evidence that the promise of in-group esteem induced higher rates of attendance at a rally for gay marriage in New Jersey.
In short, the committee agreed that Dr. McClendon’s dissertation represents some of the best work being done in comparative politics. It combines novel theorizing with the clever and effective use of multiple empirical strategies. This work is sure to help reshape how we think about citizen preferences over public policy and political participation.”
Best Book Award: Milan Svolik (University of Illinois) was award the best book award for The Politics of Authoritarian Rule (Cambridge University Press).
This year’s award committee included David Samuels (University of Minnesota)(chair), Rachel Beatty Riedl (Northwestern University), James Melton (University College London).
Committee Remarks on the Award Winner: “Political science has witnessed a proliferationof scholarship on authoritarian regimes over the past 10-15 years. Rather than simply categorizing all non-democracies as totalitarian, where the dictator is supreme leader with unquestionable control over the elites and masses, we have come to appreciate the heterogeneity between dictatorships and to understand that even a dictator’s power depends on a coalition of supporters. The literature upon which these realizations are based has greatly expanded both our
knowledge and interest in authoritarian politics. Missing from the extant literature, though, is a theory that unifies and enhances all that we have learned; a theory that lays the groundwork for future scholarship on the politics of authoritarian rule.
Svolik’s book provides such a theory. He argues that dictators face two dilemmas: 1) authoritarian power-sharing and 2)
authoritarian control. The former is about managing their relationship with the ruling elite, and the latter is about managing their relationship with the masses. In explaining these problems and the solutions used by dictators to address them, Svolik’s work engulfs much of the literature on authoritarian rule. He addresses how best to conceptualize authoritarian regimes, why some dictatorships are more durable than others, why we sometimes dictators are able to personalize their rule, and how dictators use political institutions, parties and repression to prolong their rule. These topics are addressed with both rigorous (formal) theory and innovative empirical methods, which sometimes utilizes data collected specifically for this book. Ultimately, though, the most important contribution of this book is the dynamic theoretical framework it establishes for understanding authoritarian rule. This is a framework that will be built upon for years to come by scholars who seek to identify alternative ways in which dictators address the dilemmas of authoritarian power-sharing and authoritarian control first identified by Svolik.”
Michael Coppedge (University of Notre Dame) was awarded an honorable mention for Democratization and Research Methods (Cambridge University Press).
Committee Remarks on the Honorable Mention: “This book provides a critical overview of the evolution of the scholarly study of regime change, with a focus on the interplay between different theories and different methodologies, highlighting the epistemological challenges that scholars – both qualitative and quantitative – face when attempting to make sense of this complex phenomenon. In addition to providing a most robust and yet precise conceptualization, Coppedge does more than merely summarize the democratization literature. By putting the question of regime transition in dialogue with methodologies he adjudicates between the theoretical and empirical evaluations of democracy’s causes. In doing so, he has provided a public good that will be an invaluable resource for all students of democratization, and will surely be assigned in most graduate seminars (and upper-division undergraduate courses) for years to come.”
Best Article Award: Robert Woodberry (National University of Singapore) won the best article award for his American Political Science Review piece, “The Missionary Roots of Liberal Democracy.”
This year’s award committee included Milan Svolik (University of Illinois) (Chair), Svend-Erik Skaaning (Aarhus University), and Leonardo R. Arriola (University of California, Berkeley).
Committee Remarks on the Award Winner: “The committee unanimously decided to award the best article prize to Robert Woodberry for his article “The Missionary Roots of Liberal Democracy”. In this article, which came out in the May 2012 issue of the American Political Science Review, Woodberry argues that conversionary Protestants were a crucial catalyst that initiated the spread of the civic liberties and associations that ultimately resulted in the emergence of liberal democracy.
A brief version of Woodberry’s theoretical argument goes as follows: conversionary Protestants wanted ordinary people to be i) able to read the Bible and ii) actively involved in their church. Yet in their attempts to spread their faith, conversionary Protestants were in effect facilitating the spread of mass education, mass printing, and civil society. These byproducts of religious activism in turn led to the emergence of actors and conditions favorable to democracy: civic associations, political parties, religious liberties, and mass political participation.
Hence, according to Woodberry, democracy was not the autonomous triumph of modern forms of political organization and activity – like political parties, labor movements, and mass education. Rather, these modern political actors were the byproduct of a very traditional activity, namely, religious conversion and competition.
These arguments alone amount to an important and novel challenge to the standard versions of the modernization
theory. Yet, Woodberry’s article is also exceptional in the way it combines historical and statistical research in order to evaluate this theoretical proposition.
First, Woodberry shows that there is a strong association between Protestantism and democracy across a number of historical and geographical contexts: in Western Europe, in settle colonies, in Eastern Europe after the fall of communism, and in the rest of the contemporary world. Then he presents historical evidence of conversionary
protestants’ involvement in the spread of mass printing, mass education, civil society, and the rule of law – and thus highlights the specific mechanisms by which conversionary protestants fostered conditions favorable to the emergence of democracy. And finally, using original data on Protestant missionary involvement around the world, Professor Woodberry demonstrates that the historic prevalence of Protestant missionaries explains about half the variation in democracy outside of Europe – even after controlling for most standard covariates and after accounting for endogeneity by an instrumental variable analysis.
To summarize, it is the combination of a new approach to a classic, important question and the nuanced use of different kinds of methods and evidence when evaluating his theoretical claims that led us to award this year’s best article prize to Robert Woodberry.”
Best Fieldwork Award: Adam Auerbach won the best fieldwork prize for his dissertation project, “Cooperation in Uncertainty: Migration, Ethnicity, and Community Governance in India’s Urban Slums.”
This year’s award committee included Leonard Wantchekon (Princeton University) (chair), Oeindrila Dube (New
York University), Gwyneth McClendon (Yale University).
Committee Remarks on the Award Winners: “This year’s committee is pleased to have selected Adam Auerbach’s dissertation project, “Cooperation in Uncertainty: Migration, Ethnicity, and Community Governance in India’s Urban Slums,” for the Comparative Democratization’s Best Fieldwork Prize. Auerbach’s dissertation project identifies a compelling research question — namely, what explains variation in the degree of development and level of public goods provision across slums in India? To answer it, Auerbach has employed a mixed-methods approach that has involved extensive ethnographic fieldwork over 15 months, a host of interviews with political leaders, gang members, and squatter settlement residents, the collection of about 3,000 documents from community meetings, election campaigns and leadership correspondence, an original survey of just under two thousand households across 80 slums, a database of party workers characteristics, and the creation of satellite imaging maps. His fieldwork efforts are impressive in their sheer breadth, depth, and creativity. He has collected rich data on often-overlooked communities and political activities. His innovative approach has also thus far led to intriguing and novel results. For instance, Auerbach finds, contrary to much extant research, that ethnic heterogeneity can have a positive impact on public goods provision, at least when it leads to competitive and dense patronage networks. His dissertation project promises to make a key contribution to political science literatures on economic development, ethnic diversity, public goods provision, clientelism, political competition, and research design.”
Sarah Parkinson was also awarded an honorable mention for her work on “Reinventing the Resistance: Order and
Violence among Palestinians in Lebanon.” Committee Remarks on the Honorable Mention: “The committee is also pleased to award Sarah Parkinson’s dissertation, “Reinventing the Resistance: Order and Violence Among Palestinians in Lebanon,” an Honorable Mention. Parkinson went above and beyond the depth and personal risk typically undertaken for dissertation fieldwork and with striking results. She spent over 19 months, over the course of 5
years, living in and near refugee camps in Lebanon in order to make sense of variation in the reorganization of Palestinian militant organizations in the decades since 1980. Her central question — what explains the different
ways in which militant organizations recover and reorganize after defeat? — advances literatures on war, on organizational theory and change, and on social networks. Under difficult and dangerous circumstances,
Parkinson won and kept the trust of her research subjects. She integrated herself fully into daily life and collected impressive archival and oral history data from both women and male officers. The committee believes that the depth, integrity, and careful design of her project will make a very important contribution to political science.”
Best Paper Award: Kunle Owolabi (Villanova) won the best paper award for his work on “Literacy and Democracy After
This year’s award committee included Zachary Elkins (University of Texas at Austin) (Chair), Daniel Ziblatt (Harvard University), and Joseph Wright (Pennsylvania State University).
Committee Remarks on the Award Winner: “We—the selection committee—agreed unanimously in our decision. We found Owolabi’s paper to be a highly original treatment of a fascinating research question. Owolabi notes a puzzling difference in literacy rates between two sets of countries characterized two different patterns of colonization: those in which colonizers imported non-indigenous laborers to colonies (largely in the Americas) and those in which colonizers dominated indigenous populations (largely in Africa and Asia). Paradoxically, those societies characterized by forced settlement (the first mode) exhbit much higher literacy rates in the postcolonial era than do those characterized by occupation (the second mode).
Owolabi’s explanation for this paradox is compelling. He suggests that the process associated with the abolition of slavery in colonies of forced settlement led to some surprising benefits with respect to citizenship and education. By contrast, societies of occupation maintained strict administrative codes for indigenous populations that
essentially denied them fundamental citizenship rights until the post-World War II era. This deprivation in membership and status in the community had a remarkable impact on educational outcomes. Owolabi tests his theory convincingly with a careful statistical analysis. The result is a highly intriguing historical paper, which we expect will be published in the next several years in a top journal.
We congratulate Kunle Owolabi heartily and wish him the best of luck in his future work in this area.”
2012 Award Winners
Juan Linz Prize for the Best Dissertation
in the Comparative Study of Democracy:
Noam Lupu (Princeton University) won
the Juan Linz Dissertation Prize for the
Best Dissertation in the Comparative
Study of Democracy for his work on
“Party Brands in Crisis: Partisanship,
Brand Dilution and the Breakdown of
Political Parties in Latin America.”
This year’s award committee included
Nancy Bermeo (Oxford University)
(Chair), Tom Pepinsky (Cornell
University), and Pauline Jones Luong
(University of Michigan).
Committee’s Remarks on the Award
“Lupu’s research is about political party
longevity. He asks why political parties
that have been nationally competitive for
decades collapse in the course of a single
electoral cycle. After illustrating that the
phenomenon is not simply an artefact of
performance failures, he teaches us that the
explanation derives from the role of party
brands, meaning, voters’ beliefs about what
a party stands for. When party brands
are strong, voters’ party attachments are
durable and can withstand even disastrous
governing performance. When party
brands become diluted, attachments erode
and voters are more likely to vote on
performance measures alone. Ironically,
party brands are likely to become diluted
during crises, when leaders form “strangebedfellow
alliances” and provoke intraparty
Lupu defends this intriguing argument
with six matched case studies from
Venezuela and Argentina, plus two
experiments embedded in a survey of
Argentine voters. He uses primary sources,
extensive interviews, statistical data and
formal models in an exemplary fashion,
combining them seamlessly in a manuscript
that was a pleasure to read. His meticulous
empirics, his innovative methodology
and his answer to an original question
of practical importance to democracy
make his dissertation precisely the sort of
scholarship the Linz Prize is intended to
Best Book Award:
Susan Hyde (Yale
University) won the Best Book Award
for her work on The Pseudo-Democrat’s
Dilemma: Why Election Monitoring Became
an International Norm (Cornell University
Press, 2011). Vineeta Yadav (Penn State
University Press) won an honorable
mention for Political Parties, Business
Groups, and Corruption in Developing
Countries (Oxford University Press, 2011).
This year’s award committee included
Michael Ross (University of California,
Los Angeles) (Chair), Thad Dunning
(Yale University), and Benjamin Smith
(University of Florida).
Committee’s Remarks on the Award
“Members of the book award committee
reviewed 23 submissions, each one a
testimonial to the vitality and breadth of
current scholarship on democratization.
Our unanimous choice for the book award
is Susan Hyde’s The Pseudo-Democrat’s
Dilemma. The book documents and helps
explain one of the most important new
phenomena in democratic transitions:
the establishment of a global norm that
credible elections must be monitored by
reputable international observers. To
account for the norm’s diffusion, the
book develops an original theory of norm
formation based on the logic of signaling,
then tests it with cross-national data,
natural experiments, and qualitative case
studies; the result is an empirical tour de
force, at once elegant, convincing, and
highly creative. The Pseudo-Democrat’s
Dilemma is both a powerful analysis and
a reminder how scholarship from other
fields of political science can enrich the
study of comparative politics.”
“The committee also chose Vineeta
Yadav’s Political Parties, Business Groups,
and Corruption in Developing Countries
for honorable mention for the award. It
asks why some developing democracies
seem to promote corruption while others
curtail it. Dr. Yadav’s book, like Dr. Hyde’s,
approaches its central question with
an admirable combination of research
methods, including close case studies of
legislative institutions and business groups
in Brazil and India as well as analysis of
data from 64 developing democracies.
Yadav finds paradoxically that strong
parties bode less well for corruption than
more fragmented ones, and the book’s
meticulous approach to answering an
important but tricky question makes it
well worth honorable mention.”
Best Article Award:
Carles Boix (Princeton University) was
awarded the Best Article Award for his
work on “Democracy, Development and
the International System” (November
2011 American Political Science Review).
Susan Hyde (Yale University) received an
honorable mention for her work on “Catch
Us If You Can: Election Monitoring and
International Norm Diffusion” (April 2011 American Journal of Political Science).
This year’s award committee included
Daniel Posner (University of California,
Los Angeles) (Chair), Anna Grzymala-
Busse (University of Michigan), and
Edmund Malesky (University of California,
Committee’s Remarks on the Award
“In this important and novel contribution
to the literature on the relationship
between democracy and development,
Carles Boix highlights the ways that the
structure of the international system has
historically played a key role in shaping
the likelihood that countries will be
democratic. Drawing on a new panel
data set including all sovereign states
from the early nineteenth century to the
end of the twentieth century, Boix shows
that the relationship between income and
democracy has varied historically over
time: income is positively associated with
democracy during the democratic “first
wave” (1850-1920) but not in the years
that preceded or followed this historically
unique period. Then Boix accounts for this
variation by demonstrating that the effect
of income on democracy is conditional
on the whether or not the great powers of
the day promoted democratization in the
countries over which they held sway. “
“It is rare that a contribution to such
a well-developed literature offers fresh
insights, but Boix’s paper does just this.
His demonstration of the periodicity of
the relationship between democracy and
development challenges the presumption
that these two variables exhibit a constant
relationship. And the compelling evidence
he provides for the importance of the
international system adds a critical new
variable to existing accounts. No inquiry
into the origins of democracy will be able
to ignore the arguments he has advanced
in this terrific paper.”
“In “Catch Us If You Can,” Susan Hyde
documents the dramatic expansion of
international election observation since the
late 1980s—a phenomenon she explains
as a consequence of the emergence and
diffusion of a new international norm
equating “democracy” with the holding of
elections that international observers have
judged to be free and fair. Hyde argues
persuasively that this norm emerged as
the product of an international system
that conferred benefits on countries that
were seen to be democratic and was
reinforced by the desire of even nondemocratic
countries to avoid the negative
consequences of refusing to invite election
observers. The analysis helps to account
for a number of puzzling outcomes,
including why only weakly democratic
states would invite international monitors
to observe their elections and why
improvements in election monitoring
techniques in the late 1990s (which made
it harder for governments to get away with
electoral fraud) did not lead to a decrease
in the rate of international election
monitoring (in fact it increased). The
paper also contributes to the literature on
international norm diffusion by showing
that the desire of states to signal their
type—and not just the mobilization efforts
of activists or incentives to comply with
international institutions—can explain
why states will voluntarily constrain their
behaviors in ways that, on their face, would
appear to run counter to their interests.”
Best Field Work Award:
This year’s Best Field Work Prize was
awarded to Simon Chauchard for his
work on “From Political Power To
Changing Group Relations? Tracking the
Psychological Impact of Political Inclusion
in Rural India.” James Long was awarded an
honorable mention for his work on “Ethnic
Voting in Kenya and Ghana and Election
Fraud in Uganda and Afghanistan.”
This year’s committee members included
Kenneth F. Greene (University of Texas at
Austin) (Chair), Claire Adida (University
of Calfornia, San Diego), and Lily L. Tsai
(Massachusetts Institute of Technology).
Committee’s Remarks on the Award
“The committee is pleased to honor Simon
Chauchard with the 2012 Dissertation
Fieldwork Award from the Comparative
Democratization Section of the American
Political Science Association for his
dissertation “From Political Power To
Changing Group Relations? Tracking the
Psychological Impact of Political Inclusion
in Rural India”. Simon’s work distinguished
itself from a field of very strong candidates,
and indeed the committee was impressed
with the hard work and ingenuity evident in
all of the dissertations that were nominated.
What set Simon’s work apart was the
incredible nuance in the development and
application of the survey instrument he
used to measure the dynamics of political
participation among scheduled castes in
Rajasthan, India. Simon wanted to know
how the use of executive positions reserved
for scheduled castes in some villages but
not in others affected political attitudes
toward scheduled castes. Whether political
representation for stigmatized social
groups has psychic benefits rather than
engendering backlash – a finding that
Simon’s dissertation supports – has clear
implications for the literatures on ethnic
politics and political representation. It
also supports the notion that electoral
engineering can yield positive social
outcomes, a finding relevant to many
ethnically heterogeneous countries around
the world, including the United States.
To test his central hypothesis, Simon first
selected 32 matched-pairs of villages, 64 in
all, where half had reserved seats and half
did not. He then interviewed individual
villagers using a sample survey. In designing
the instrument, Simon grappled with the
issue of functional illiteracy that can render
otherwise high quality survey instruments
of little use in many developing-world
contexts. To overcome this problem as
well as potential measurement error due
to social desirability bias and interviewer
effects, Simon created scripted recordings
of interview questions that were spoken
by professional actors using local accents
appropriate to each sampling point. The
scripts were then put on MP3 players and
respondents were asked to listen through
headphones as they self-administered
questionnaires that used icons instead of
words for response categories. This simple
but novel approach turned out to be very
cost effective and thus reproducible for
most graduate students in the field.
Simon’s work demonstrates great
sensitivity to the particular characteristics
of his respondents. Instead of blindly
applying an off-the-rack methodology, he
took pains to adapt survey methods to his
particular research setting and subjects.
The committee views this kind of ingenuity
as especially laudable and is very pleased to
honor Simon with this year’s dissertation
“The committee also wants to single out
James Long with an Honorable Mention
for his extremely impressive work on
ethnic voting in Kenya and Ghana and on
election fraud in Uganda and Afghanistan.
In Kenya, James was interested in whether
and to what extent the long-noted
tendency of voters to choose a co-ethnic
candidate are conditioned by evaluations of
the candidate’s likely performance in office.
To test this hypothesis, James carried
out an amazingly large exit poll among
6,400 voters, training 300 interviewers
and conducting four nationwide preelection
surveys along the way. The exit
poll included split-sample experiments
that manipulated the ethnicity and job
performance of hypothetical candidates.
He showed that perceived performance
can matter, sometimes driving voters to
choose a well performing candidate from a
different ethnicity over a poorly performing
His fieldwork also dealt with questions of
election fraud. In Uganda and Afghanistan,
James tested a new approach for controlling
election-day malfeasance. Among a sample
of precincts, half of the poll managers
received a letter, early in the day, stating
that a photo would be taken of the final
vote tally after voting was completed.
Although photos were in fact taken in both
the treated and untreated precincts, James
found at least a 25% reduction in fraud in
precincts where letters were delivered ahead
of time. This finding has clear implications
for democracy promotion advocates around
the world. The committee also notes that
James conducted his work in difficult and
sometimes dangerous circumstances that
makes us wince with concern as dissertation
advisors but also leaves us very impressed
with his dogged pursuit of important and
Best Paper Award:
Susan Stokes (Yale University) was awarded
the best paper award for her work on
“What Killed Vote Buying in Britain?”
(presented at 2011 APSA meeting).
This year’s award committee included Marc
Morjé Howard (Georgetown University)
(Chair), Lisa Blaydes (Stanford University),
and Christian Houle (Trinity College).
Committee’s Remarks on Award Winner:
“How do countries move from having
elections where candidates are selected
for providing patronage to elections won
or lost on policy platforms? Scholars
of comparative politics have made
important progress describing the political
implications of social systems of patronage
common in developing countries. Similarly,
the role of party positioning in established
democracies is much discussed. The
critical issue of how countries transition
from electoral environments where votebuying
dominates to one where individuals
are choosing candidates for the policies
they hope to see passed in the legislature
has not been widely examined. Drawing
on historical sources and new empirical
evidence from England since the Industrial
Revolution, Susan Stokes’ paper “What
Killed Vote Buying in Britain?” represents
the most important attempt to answer this
question since Gary Cox’s The Efficient
Secret. The paper is very well-written written
and adds significantly to our understanding
of this key area of comparative politics. The
committee therefore unanimously agreed
that Susan Stokes’ paper should be awarded
the prize for best paper in Comparative
2011 Award Winners
Juan Linz Dissertation Award: Ekrem Karakoc (Pennsylvania State University) won the Juan Linz Dissertation prize for his work on “A Theory of Redistribution in New Democracies: How Democracy Has Increased Income Disparity in Southern and Postcommunist Europe.”
Prerna Singh (Princeton University) was awarded an honorable mention for a dissertation on
“Subnationalism and Social Development: A Comparative Analysis of Indian States.”
This year’s award committee included Stathis Kalyvas (Yale University) (chair), Victor Shih (Northwestern University), and Maya Tudor (University of Oxford).
Committee’s Remarks on the Award Winners: “The Committee is pleased to present Ekrem Karakoc with the Juan Linz Dissertation Award for his dissertation on “A Theory of Redistribution in New Democracies: How Democracy Has Increased Income Disparity in Southern and Postcommunist Europe.”
“Using both large N analysis case studies of Spain, Turkey, the Czech Republic, and Poland, Karakoc reminds us that not all democratization waves are created equal. Although overall, democracies are more egalitarian than dictatorships, new democracies remain highly unequal—they have failed to reduce inequality. More generally, the thesis goes against the widespread perception that democracy provides higher levels of growth, higher levels of welfare, and a more egalitarian distribution of wealth. Recent democracies do not perform as expected. The thesis argues that poor citizens are not mobilized and do not vote and that weak party system institutionalization has a regressive effect on spending. Instead, government spending targets those who organized during the authoritarian period, rather than outsiders: civil servants, unionized skilled workers, the military, etc. Urban and rural poor are demobilized and left out. This is a piece of work that qualifies a lot of what we think we know about democracies today (think of Acemoglu and Robinson), is superbly researched and crafted, and does an excellent job in identifying the mechanisms connecting this outcome to its putative causes.”
Honorable Mention: Prerna Singh, “Subnationalism and Social Development: A Comparative Analysis of Indian States”
“This thesis begins by observing the striking variation in social development indicators across Indian states, especially educational and health outcomes, and argues that what helps explain this variation is the type of political community created. More specifically, Singh finds that the cohesiveness of subnationalist identification affects how progressive state social policy will be as well as its collective action by citizens. This is established via a comparison of Kerala and Tamil Nadu versus Uttar Pradesh. Rajsasthan is used as a case of transition from less to more cohesive subnationalist id that also moves in the expected direction on the social indicator front. A key message is that nationalism is the deeper driver behind good social outcomes. The work is extremely rich, combining archival research, census, survey and macro-economic data; and elite interviews, focus groups meetings, and participant observation.”
Best Book Award: Timothy Frye (Columbia University) and Monica Nalepa (University of Notre Dame) were co-winners of the best book award for their work on Building States and Markets after Communism: The Perils of Polarized Democracy (Cambridge University Press, 2010) and Skeletons in the Closet: Transitional Justice in Post-Communist Systems (Cambridge University Press, 2010).
This year’s committee members included Stephan Haggard (University of California at San Diego) (chair), Steven Wilkinson (Yale University), and Amaney Jamal (Princeton University).
Committee’s Remarks on the Award Winners: “Two books rose to the top of a very competitive field this year, both on Eastern Europe yet both addressing critical issues facing new democracies worldwide.
Timothy Frye’s Building States and Markets After Communism (Cambridge University Press) is the most comprehensive treatment to date of the political economy of economic reform in post-communist states. Comparing authoritarian and democratic regimes, Frye focuses on the conditioning effect of political polarization on the speed, coherence, and nature of market reforms. Working with a simple economic model with politicians, producers, and a dependent sector, Frye argues that democracies can combine incentives to producers and transfers that ease the transition; in an extension, he shows how these are combined somewhat differently depending on the partisan orientation of governments.
But this happy outcome is only likely when politics are not polarized. In politically-polarized settings, producers fear policy swings between governments and therefore under-invest, lowering the revenues needed to provide cushioning social insurance and services. Rather, politicians channel rents to favored and established firms, producing an erratic transition path; think Russia under Yeltsin.
Frye tests his model with both macro and micro data as well as rich case studies. He codes partisanship and polarization and looks at their effect on both the speed and consistency of reform and economic growth. He uses firm-level data to capture the reaction of producers to polarization, thus filling in the microfoundations of his macro approach. Recognizing the potential endogeneity of polarization, Frye devotes a chapter to the sources of partisan divisions, including a fascinating digression on how communist parties exploit nationalism to their political advantage. Rich and well-chosen case studies provide depth on a diverse range of cases from Russia and Bulgaria to Poland and Uzbekistan.
Monica Nalepa’s Skeletons in the Closet: Transitional Justice in Post-Communist Europe, builds up from what appears to be a “small” question: lustration. Yet Nalepa shows that the issue of post-transitional justice is in fact implicated in all aspects of the transition process, from the positions oppositions take prior to democratization to the nature of the political order once democracy occurs. The skeletons in Nalepa’s title refer to the fact that virtually all oppositions to autocratic rule include people who collaborated with the ancien regime. This fact obviously influences the willingness of new governments to undertake probing lustration; authoritarian incumbents are more than happy to expose collaborators. The shadow of the skeletons—so to speak—falls on the transition itself: the more infiltrated the opposition, the more likely incumbents are to initiate negotiations and oppositions to offer guarantees. In meticulous detail and paying attention to mico-level mechanisms and alternative explanations, Nalepa offers a fascinating account about the politics surrounding lustration.
Nalepa’s book is built around a series of formal models characterizing these puzzles; not surprisingly, informational asymmetries play a central role in them. She picks cases that vary along key parameters and uses narratives to test the theory. She also utilizes surveys and public opinion and voting data to get at underlying preferences for lustration over time. Changing political circumstances, and particularly the emergence of altogether new parties not implicated in original bargains, is a key condition for bringing these skeletons out of the closet.
Even though used to generate predictions about lustration, her models have very much wider application to transition processes: the extent to which oppositions can take militant positions; the concessions they make to authoritarians; and the extent to which they can extirpate the old order. As Nalepa shows in a particularly well-crafted conclusion, the implications reach even beyond transitions. Democratic transitions that involve agreements with outgoing authoritarian leaders exemplify credible commitment problems and contracting more generally, issues to which the skeletons in the closet model also speak to.
The pool from which these books were drawn was a strong one, with major contributions by senior as well as junior scholars. Many books were worthy, but we were attracted to these two because of their tight integration of theory, research design, and the use of diverse empirical methods.”
Best Article Award: Ben Ansell (University of Minnesota) and David Samuels (University of Minnesota) won the best article award for their work on “Inequality and Democratization: A Contractarian Approach,” which appeared in the December 2010 Comparative Political Studies.
This year’s award committee included Ellen Lust (Yale University) (chair), Milan Svolik (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), and Lucan Way (University of Toronto).
Committee’s Remarks on the Award Winners: “The Committee for the Best Article in Comparative Democratization reviewed 340 articles published last year, finding the study of democratization is alive and well. We were impressed by a large number of interesting, carefully researched, and well-written pieces, drawn on research literally from across the globe. We are pleased to announce that among these, we found Ben Ansell and David Samuels’ article, “Inequality and Democratization: A Contractarian Approach,” published in Comparative Political Studies, to be of exceptional value in moving the field forward.
The article provides a novel contribution to a central debate in the study of democratization: namely, what is the relationship between economic development and democratization? Addressing recent scholarship of Boix, Arcemoglu, and Robinson, they argue that it is not the level of inequality and nature of asset mobility that affects democratization, but rather the source of inequality. Specifically, they argue that land inequality makes democratization less likely, but inequality derived from industrialization and financial sectors fosters partial democratization. To understand why this is so, they shift our attention from the predominant distributive approach to democratization to a contractarian approach.
The contractarian approach draws nicely from classical works of political philosophy (Hobbes, Locke, Mill, and Constant), contemporary neoinstitutional theories of the state (Levi, North, and Weingast, Olson) and critical works in political economy (Meltzer and Richards), to consider how economic development affects the interests and capabilities of various economic sectors to demand partial democratization. They argue that while high land inequality reflects the strong interests and ability of ruling autocrats to resist democratization, high inequality of industrial and financial sectors represents the emergence and expansion of a new bourgeoisie, which seeks partial democracy not in order to redistribute wealth, but precisely to prevent the governing, autocratic elites from confiscating their own growing assets and income. That is, as Ansell and Samuels note, a contractarian approach reminds us that “Democratization is not about whether the median voter is going to soak the rich; it is about whether citizens can obtain impartial protections from the state against expropriation.”
The argument is carefully explicated and tested through a formal model and quantitative analysis. In their model, Ansell and Samuels call into question a number of assumptions underlying some of the distributive models of democratization. They argue that autocratic regimes are more expropriative than democracies, even among elites; that inequality can vary both within and across economic sectors, independent of asset mobility, and that a more appropriate representation of the problem requires a three-actor model, with a small, landed elite, an industrial bourgeoisie, and the masses. Less explicitly, but also importantly, they distinguish between partial and full democratization, arguing that rising elites push for the former but not necessarily the latter. They then test the argument extensively using two data sets (one from 1858–1993 and a second from 1955–2004), two versions of the dependent variable (a dichotomous version and the 21-point Polity scale), and in both a linear and U-shaped model (a la Arcemoglu and Robinson). It is an impressive empirical assessment, particularly given the data limitations and the requirements of the theory.
In short, the article makes an important critique of distributive theories of democratization, explores an important distinction in inequality, and convincingly puts forth a novel, contractarian theory of the relationship between inequality and democratization. It reminds us that industrialization often creates high inequality as well as the expansion of a new bourgeoisie that may prefer partial democratization in order to protect their own rising assets. That is, democratization is not a struggle between elites and masses over the expropriation of resources, but also one between competing segments of elites. The goal of democratization is not simply a mechanism for reshaping the distribution of assets, but also for obtaining a mechanism for protecting expanding assets of a new bourgeoisie.
We believe these insights should shape the debate over economic growth, inequality, and democratization for years to come and commend Ben Ansell and David Samuels for a job well done.”
Best Field Work Award: Claire Adida (University of California, San Diego) was presented with the best field work award for her work on “Immigrant Exclusion and Insecurity in Africa.” Rodrigo Zarazaga (University of California, Berkeley) received an honorable mention for his work on “Peronist Hegemony and Clientelism: Strategic Interactions Among Mayors, Brokers, and Poor Voters.”
This year’s award committee included Giovanni Capoccia (University of Oxford) (chair), Gretchen Helmke (University of Rochester), and Sunila Kale (University of Washington).
Committee’s Remarks on the Award Winners: “The Committee is very pleased to announce this year’s winner of the Award for the Best Field Research of the Comparative Democratization Section is Prof. Claire Adida. This is to honor the empirical fieldwork that she did for her dissertation “Immigrant Exclusion and Insecurity in Africa,” which she defended at Stanford University in 2010. The thesis analyzes important dynamics of South-South immigration in Niger, Ghana, and Benin, starting with an empirical puzzle. Adida notes wide variation in the extent to which immigrant communities are accepted by the host populations of the countries to which they move. To press the reasons for such variation, Adida developed an innovative theoretical perspective with a counterintuitive sensibility that argues that cultural similarity between immigrant and host communities works against the possibilities for integration. This is because host communities feel more competitive with culturally similar immigrant groups than they do with traders belonging to culturally dissimilar immigrant communities.
A large part of the empirical work for the dissertation consists of subtle and challenging fieldwork in several small communities in different contexts in urban Africa. Here Adida skillfully blended in-depth interviewing with the analysis of original surveys, in which she embedded an experiment that added further analytic leverage to her survey findings. In short, Adida carries out challenging, difficult, and innovative fieldwork in multiple settings, in order to refine and test an original theoretical perspective.”
Honorable Mention – Rodrigo Zarazaga
“The Committee unanimously agreed to award an honorable mention to Rodrigo Zarazaga for the fieldwork that he conducted for his dissertation on clientelistic politics in Argentina. The dissertation, entitled “Peronist Hegemony and Clientelism: Strategic Interactions Among Mayors, Brokers, and Poor Voters,” is theoretically and empirically very rich. One key contribution is that brokers are essential for clientelistic parties not least because of their local knowledge of the voters’ “reservation value.” This allows parties to trade for votes at an efficient price. Zarazaga’s fieldwork consisted of interviews with 120 brokers in several Argentinean municipalities, often carried out in difficult and challenging conditions. The fieldwork and the findings constitute an important contribution to the study of vote-buying, fraud, and clientelism.”
Best Paper Award: Robert D. Woodberry (University of Texas at Austin) was presented for the best paper award for his work on “Weber Through the Back Door: Protestant Competition, Elite Power Dispersion, and the Global Spread of Democracy” (presented at 2010 APSA meeting). Thad Dunning (Yale University) and Susan Stokes (Yale University) were recognized as honorable mentions for their work on “How Does the Internal Structure of Political Parties Shape Their Distributive Strategies?” (presented at 2010 APSA meeting)
This year’s award committee included Jeffrey Kopstein (University of Toronto) (chair); Alexandre Debs (Yale University); and Jennifer Gandhi (Emory University).
Committee’s Remarks on the Award Winners: “The committee awarded the prize to Robert D. Woodberry, of the sociology department at the University of Texas at Austin, for his paper “Weber Through the Back Door: Protestant Competition, Elite Power Dispersion, and the Global Spread of Democracy.” The paper addresses a core thesis of comparative politics, the relationship between mass religious affiliation and political development. Weber’s original design connected the orientation of Protestant dissenters to a specific orientation toward work and leisure. Woodberry refocuses Weber’s insight to account for variation in regime type and also moves the focus of attention beyond the particularities of European history. In this way, he reconnects modern social science with one of the classics of social theory, challenging current theories of democratization taken from political science and economics. The paper is beautifully written, thoroughly researched, and adds significantly to the corpus of knowledge in a key area of comparative politics. The committee therefore unanimously agreed that it should be awarded the prize for best paper in Comparative Democratization.”
Honorable Mention – Susan Stokes and Thad Dunning
“The committee also awarded an honorable mention to Thad Dunning and Susan Stokes, of Yale University, for their paper “How Does the Internal Structure of Political Parties Shape their Distributive Strategies?” The paper addresses an important question of distributive politics: do parties target loyal supporters or swing voters? The paper provides an answer using a multi-method approach. First, they present survey evidence from three countries, Argentina, Mexico, and Venezuela, concluding that parties tend to target loyal supporters and swing districts. Then, they explain their finding through a formal model, capturing the strategic interactions between party leaders and party brokers. The paper offers exciting possibilities for future research on this important question.”
2010 Award Winners
Juan Linz Dissertation Award: Agustina Giraudy “Subnational Undemocratic Regime Continuity After Democratization: Argentina and Mexico in Comparative Perspective” (UNC Chapel Hill) and Evangelos (Evan) Liaras “Ballot Box and Tinderbox: Can Electoral Engineering Save Multiethnic Democracy?” (MIT) were the cowinners of the 2010 Juan Linz Dissertation Award.
This year’s award committee included Catherine Boone (University of Texas, Austin) (chair), Gerardo Luis Munck (University of Southern California), and Daniel Ziblatt (Harvard University)
Committee’s Remarks on the Award Winners:
Agustina Giraudy’s dissertation breaks with the traditional focus of democracy studies on national level developments and tackles the question, What impact do democratic national authorities have on sub-national democratization? Giraudy addresses this question in the context of Mexico and Argentina using a variety of methods and comparisons. The two countries are compared; a quantitative analysis of Mexico’s 32 states and Argentina’s 24 provinces is conducted using a new subnational dataset; and a qualitative comparison of two Mexican states and of two Argentine provinces, relying on extensive fieldwork and numerous interviews, is carried out. The results validate the turn to subnational level analysis and are discouraging: national-level democratization is not always associated with subnational-level democratization. Rather, democratic national authorities frequently have both an incentive to shore up nondemocratic subnational authorities —inasmuch as these actors can assist in the building of political coalitions—and the means to extract their support—a variety of fiscal and partisan instruments. Moreover, nondemocratic subnational authorities have the capacity to resist efforts of national authorities to transform politics at the subnational level. This is an ambitious dissertation that breathes new air into the study of democratization and that makes an exemplary use of the multiple methods that are available to students of comparative politics. It also has important implications for public policy, raising questions about the wisdom of the standard call for greater decentralization of power.
Evangelos Liaras’s dissertation addresses one of the central issues in Political Science: How can we design institutions, specifically electoral institutions, to dampen ethnic conflict and promote democracy? He focuses on a comparison of plurality and proportional representation (PR) systems, following scholars such as Lijphart and Horowitz in asking which of these systems best addresses the challenges of multiethnic democracy. Beginning with a series of models that generate hypotheses about the effects of rule change on ethnic party formation and ethnic voting under different assumptions about ethnic demography and geographic configurations of party support, Liaras tracks the effects of institutional change in Turkey, Sri Lanka, N. Ireland, and Guyana — the universe of states that have introduced more proportional electoral systems as a way to mitigate longstanding communal conflict. He finds that in these cases, theories predicting that greater proportionality will produce more cross-ethnic voting or cooperation-promoting patterns of party fragmentation do not pan out. In many critical respects, voting and party patterns have remained constant despite attempts at electoral engineering meant to change them. The analysis is based on a reconstruction of voting patterns at the level of constituencies and districts over time, as well as on archival and interview research in each of the four countries. Liaras concludes that other institutional factors, such as citizenship restrictions (in Sri Lanka), and more diffuse political factors, such as the majority group’s willingness to engage minorities and on what terms (in Turkey), seem to play preponderant roles in shaping the outcomes of interest. The electoral system itself is not the decisive factor. As Roger Peterson wrote, Evan’s dissertation “has the potential to truly change the way both political scientists and policymakers think about the role of electoral institutions and the chances of mitigating conflict through institutional design.
Best Book Award: Zachary Elkins (University of Texas, Austin), Tom Ginsburg (University of Chicago), and James Melton (IMT Institute for Advanced Studies) won be the Best Book Award for their work on The Endurance of National Constitutions Cambridge University Press).
This year’s award committee members included Anna Grzymala-Busse (Chair) (University of Michigan), Jacques Bertrand (University of Toronto), and Thad Dunning (Yale University).
Committee’s Remarks on the Award Winner:
The Endurance of National Constitutions asks a critical puzzle in the study of democratic institutions and democratization: why do some constitutions persist, while others fail to survive? The authors offer a compelling new explanation that focuses on the specificity, inclusiveness, and flexibility of constitutional design. The dataset is particularly impressive, based on the collection of constitutional texts stretching back more than 200 years. It provides a rich comparative assessment of the longevity of constitutions, their scope and specificity, as well as trends in constitutional innovations. The manipulation and presentation of this data offer an unprecedented insight into the nature of constitutions over time. By emphasizing the importance of design over environmental factors, the book convincingly shows that constitutions have qualities and durability that survive and sometimes shape institutional change. This is a work of real scope and ambition, and it blazes important new trails as it (explicitly) leaves some important questions for future theoretical and empirical work.
Best Article Award: Daniel Ziblatt’s (Harvard University) “Shaping Democratic Practice and the Causes of Electoral Fraud: The Case of Nineteenth-Century Germany” American Political Science Review (February 2009) and Dan Slater’s (University of Chicago) “Revolutions, Crackdowns, and Quiescence: Communal Elites and Democratic Mobilization in Southeast Asia” by Dan Slater American Journal of Sociology (July 2009) won the 2010 Best Article Award.
This year’s award committee members included Evan S. Lieberman (Chair) (Princeton University), Eva Bellin (Hunter College), and Steven Levitsky (Harvard University).
Committee’s Remarks on the Award Winner:
Daniel Ziblatt’s “Shaping Democratic Practice and the Causes of Electoral Fraud” makes new and important contributions on both the empirical and the theoretical fronts. The article employs an innovative empirical strategy to demonstrate the causal link between inequality and electoral fraud in Imperial Germany (1871-1912). Ziblatt’s use of original data to demonstrate a statistical relationship between land inequality and the incidence of fraud is itself a major contribution. In particular, the committee found that the article’s strength lies in its exploration of causal mechanisms, and its demonstration that local elite capture of state electoral administration, rather than traditional or “private” landlord control over peasants, was the primary source of fraud. More broadly, the article shows that conservative elites may defend their interests not only by avoiding or overthrowing democracy, but also via a range of practices within a context of formal democratic rule.
In “Revolution, Crackdowns, and Quiesence” Dan Slater highlights the importance of non-material factors in mobilizing the high-risk collective action that is often key to spelling the collapse of authoritarian regimes. Employing comparative historical analysis in seven Southeast Asian countries, “Revolution, Crackdowns, and Quiescence” traces the powerful role that emotive appeals to nationalist and religious solidarities play in driving mass urban protest. The piece is masterful in its analysis and critique of prior literature on the role of social forces in democratization. Its presentation of a cultural analysis of contentious politics is insightful and an important correction to excessive focus on class actors and material factors in driving democratization. The piece is notable for its ambition to identify the way history systematically structures elite “autonomy and salience” – the keys to mobilizing religious and nationalist opposition to authoritarian regimes. Overall, “Revolution, Crackkowns, and Quiesence” is outstanding for its theoretical ambition, its elegant presentation, as well as its historical grounding in the Southeast Asian context.
Best Field Work Award: Alejandra Armesto (University of Notre Dame) won the Best Field Work Award for her dissertation on “Territorial Control and Particularistic Spending on Local Public Goods.”
Award committee members included Melani Cammett (chair) (Brown University), Fotini Christia (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), and Alexandra Scacco (Columbia University).
Committee’s Remarks on the Award Winner:
The committee is delighted to announce that the recipient of the 2010 Best Dissertation Fieldwork Award is Maria Alejandra Armesto (Ph.D., University of Notre Dame, 2010). Her innovative dissertation, titled “Territorial Control and Particularistic Spending on Local Public Goods in Argentina and Mexico,” interrogates the political logic of allocating local public goods in four Argentine provinces and four Mexican states. The central finding is that governors provide different kinds of public goods, which vary according to whether they are distributed to single households in specific communities or to areas that cut across diverse communities, to different regions. Governors base their decisions on their expected political gains and losses in particular electoral districts, taking into account whether mayors are loyal or in the opposition and whether they are weak or strong. Where a public good is contained within a given community, the governor can use her discretionary power to decide whether to grant or withhold the good; in areas where the good crosses boundaries, governors cannot prevent local mayors from claiming credit for some of the good.
The committee was impressed by the sheer breadth and depth of the empirical evidence that Armesto gathered to support her findings. Armesto collected data on a wide range of outcome variables, including seven local public goods whose provision are the responsibility of Mexican states and Argentine provinces. This in itself is a significant contribution given that even the best studies of clientelism often lack external validity because they tend to highlight only one form of particularistic spending at a time. In addition to her comprehensive dataset on spending on local public goods, Armesto conducted an original survey of subnational legislators (n = 164), in-depth interviews (n = approximately 150), and gathered supplementary evidence from relevant archival sources such as government reports and newspapers. Armesto’s thorough data collection efforts are complemented by careful attention to case selection: She selected research sites in a way that permitted variation on key variables central to rival explanations and on her own main predictors of interest. Her dissertation chapters describe this variation systematically and in a way that was helpful for readers not familiar with her Latin American cases.
Armesto’s dissertation generates important insights about the politics of public goods provision. For example, her work suggests that different public goods may be used by the same political actors in different ways, implying that a focus on a single good can bias inferences about the behavior of government officials and agencies. An interesting and nuanced argument combined with a rigorous set of empirical tests – both of her own argument and of alternative explanations in the literature – make Armesto’s dissertation richly deserving of the best fieldwork prize of the APSA section on Comparative Democratization.
Best Paper Award: Giovanni Capoccia (Oxford University) and Daniel Ziblatt (Harvard University) won the Best Paper Award for their work on“The Historic Turn in Democratization Studies: A New Research Program and Evidence from Europe.”
This year’s award committee included Scott Mainwaring (chair) (University of Notre Dame), Henry Hale (The George Washington University), and Dan Slater (University of Chicago).
Committee’s Remarks on the Award Winner:
The award committee is pleased to award the Best Paper in Comparative Democratization to “The Historic Turn in Democratization Studies: A New Research Program and Evidence from Europe,” by Giovanni Capoccia and Daniel Ziblatt. This manuscript impressively and thoughtfully lays the groundwork for a genuinely new research agenda on one of comparative politics’ oldest research topics: European democratization. Beyond merely identifying or proposing such a new agenda, Capoccia and Ziblatt have used their essay as an occasion and opportunity to gather a number of leading scholars in the field to contribute substantive essays that enact the kind of “historic turn” that they have in mind – as has now come to fruition in a the August-September 2010 special issue of Comparative Political Studies. Specifically, Capoccia and Ziblatt challenge their readers and their contributors to rethink the centrality of class in democratization processes, to recognize patterns of ideational diffusion and “iconic events” that influence the demand for democracy, and to consider the uneven and episodic character of regime change in historical time. Perhaps most excitingly, the authors draw provocative parallels between the unevenness of democratic development in 19th-century European cases and the evolution of diverse “hybrid regimes” in the wake of the Third Wave. Anyone hoping to theorize the world’s First Wave of democratization in light of the Third Wave, or vice versa, will both need to engage Capoccia and Ziblatt’s essay, and benefit from doing so. Since this essay more than any other struck the committee members as a “must-read” and “must-assign” contribution in the years to come, we unanimously agreed that it deserved the distinction of Best Paper.
2009 Award Winners
Juan Linz Dissertation Award: Lisa Blaydes (Stanford University) won the Juan Linz Dissertation Award for her work on “Competition without Democracy: Elections and Distributive Politics in Mubarak’s Egypt.” Her dissertation co-chairs were George Tsebelis and Leonard Binder.
This year’s award committee included Mary Gallagher (University of Michigan), Ben
Ross Schneider (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), and David Waldner (University
Committee’s Remarks on the Award Winner: After deliberation and discussion, the committee was unanimous in its decision to award the Linz Prize to Lisa Blaydes for her work on elections in Egypt. Rachel Beatty Riedl’s work on African party systems was a close second for the prize and received honorable mention. Both dissertations stood out for their strong commitments to important theoretical questions in the comparative democratization field with impressive and extensive field work and local knowledge. Blaydes’ dissertation, completed in the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles, analyzes “Competition without Democracy: Elections and Distributive Politics in Mubarak’s Egypt.” Blaydes examines the functionality of Egypt’s long-standing system of competitive parliamentary elections, arguing that these non-programmatic elections persist because they solve a number of different problems for several important political actors, including the regime that supports the running of elections, the candidates who spend money on their races, and the citizens who spend time voting in these elections. Blaydes employs a multidimensional research design that examines the core puzzle of competitive elections in authoritarian regimes through the eyes of these different actors. Blaydes’ work contributes to the developing research on modern authoritarianism and, in particular, the use of democratic institutions, such as elections, to sustain rather than undermine ambitious authoritarian leaders. Blaydes’ dissertation was also impressive for its innovative triangulation of methodologies including statistical analysis and qualitative interviews. Although a work on a single country, Egypt, Blaydes’ dissertation is an important theoretical contribution to the field and advances our thinking on the use of elections in authoritarian regimes.
Honorable Mention: Rachel Beatty, Princeton
Rachel Beatty Riedl (Ph.D from Princeton University) was awarded honorable mention for her work on “Institutions in New Democracies: Variations in African Political Party Systems.” Her dissertation advisor was Evan Lieberman. Riedl’s dissertation, completed in the Department of Politics at Princeton University, is an examination of “Institutions in
New Democracies: Variations in African Political Party Systems.” Riedl seeks to explain the variation in party system institutionalization across third wave democracies in Africa. Using a multi-case study approach combined with cross-national statistical analysis, Riedl argues that it is the power of the authoritarian incumbent that shapes the electoral institutions of the emerging democratic system. Importantly, Riedl finds that strong authoritarian incumbents can improve the opposition’s ability to organize and coalesce through isomorphic competition between the incumbent authoritarian and the rising opposition.
Best Book Award: Thad Dunning (Yale University) won the Best Book Award for his work on Crude Democracy: Natural Resource Wealth and Political Regimes.
This year’s award committee members included Ellen Mickiewicz (Duke University) (Chair), Michael Bernhard (Pennsylvania State University), and Dietrich Rueschemeyer
Committee’s Remarks on the Award Winner: Publishers sent over forty books to the members of the committee. We divided the reading assignments; each nominated the top five; and then the committee came to a decision in a subsequent conference call, devoted to methodologies, research design, evidence, importance to the field and other factors. We had established from the beginning of the process that the book must be genuinely comparative in scope. Second, we distinguished democratization from democracy and excluded entries, for example, on good government, rather than on democratization, unless the connection was warranted. Crude Democracy applies superior scholarship and innovative research to an influential, widely accepted relationship—the so-called resources curse—and its exploitation by authoritarian governments. The book does not deny that these variables appear to be very often related; however, there are cases in which the rich resources support democratization. If so, then reevaluation is in order.
Dunning has applied simultaneously a number of methodologies to prove that, in fact, resource abundance can lead to democracy. The multi-method approach is, in part, generated using game theoretic means but confirmed using large-n cross-national regressions. In addition, five cases, four in Latin America and one in Africa, in which the author does extensive field work enable him to include small-n methods in the study. Crude Democracy seeks not to replace the widespread reliance on the “resource curse.” He studies in this fine book those cases in which natural resources can have a different, democratizing outcome. If there can be alternative outcomes, the different mechanisms leading to diverging outcomes are important to discover. Dunning analyzes, inter alia, conditions among elites and the rest of the population that must be present for resource abundance to result in the democratic outcome.
The Committee was unanimous in its appreciation of the originality and importance of the book, as well as its firm methodological grounding in the existing literature, formal analysis, and small-n analysis deriving from field work in six countries. The methodological foundation of this book would have to be convincing and solid, were it to make a contribution to the theory of one of the leading explanations of obstacles to democratization. The Committee congratulates Mr. Dunning for having done so.
Best Article Award: Dan Slater (University of Chicago) won the Best Article Award for his article on “Can Leviathan Be Democratic? Competitive Elections, Robust Mass Politics, and State Infrastructural Power,” published in Studies in Comparative International Development.
This year’s award committee members included Jason Brownlee (University of Texas at Austin) (Chair), Leslie Elliott Armijo (University of California at Berkeley), and Oisin Tansey (University of Reading).
Committee’s Remarks on the Award Winner: This deftly written article situates careful case study work in a lucid and edifying survey of relevant prior literature. Slater’s point of departure is the accepted wisdom that the most competent and arguably best-governed polities in East and South-East Asia—Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, and Taiwan— are or until recently were authoritarian. He then addresses the relationship of “state infrastructural power” (the ability to “penetrate civil society” and “implement political decisions throughout” the national territory) to democratization. In searching for the ingredients of democratic Leviathans—those that can both govern their citizens and restrain themselves—Slater sets aside variables of industrialization and per capita income and identifies the combination of genuinely competitive electoral politics (often elite politics in practice) with engaged mass political participation as the crucial path to good governance in a new or institutionally-fragile democracy. Displaying a deep familiarity with the history of his chosen cases—Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines —Slater shows robust mass politics can foster state-building and infrastructural power through three processes: mass party building, the inclusion and empowerment of marginalized constituencies through voter registration, and the marginalization of local bosses through the enforcement of centralized authority. He notes that this causal relationship departs from the Western European story of modernization some three to four centuries ago, when parliaments steadily curbed despotic authority and expanded infrastructural power. Slater’s article is wide-ranging, precise, and intensely provocative.
He is to be commended for tackling problems of state-building and order alongside questions of democratization and public contestation. Perhaps most importantly, his article reads easily and delivers important insights with minimal jargon. For these reasons, the committee judges that “Can Leviathan Be Democratic?” exemplified the articles addressing comparative democratization in 2008 and is the most likely to be assigned in a top graduate course on the subject a decade hence.
Honorable mention: Ellis Goldberg, Erik Wibbels, and Eric Mvukiyehe
The committee awarded an Honorable Mention to Ellis Goldberg (University of
Washington), Erik Wibbels (Duke University), and Eric Mvukiyehe (Columbia
University), for their co-authored article, “Lessons from Strange Cases: Democracy,
Development, and the Resource Curse in the U.S. States,” published in Comparative
Political Studies. The literature on oil wealth and rentier states occupies a major place in current debates about democracy and authoritarianism. Goldberg, Wibbels, and Mvukiyehe self-consciously address some of the field’s pitfalls by testing, in a novel fashion, the resource curse with sub-national evidence from economic and political development across states of the US during the entire twentieth century. They combine quantitative analysis of a new dataset with focused case studies of Texas and Louisiana.
Best Field Work Award: Mr. Alexandra Scacco (Columbia University) won the Best Field Work Award for his work on “Who Riots? Explaining Individual Participation in Ethnic Violence.”
Award committee members included Jonathan Fox (University of California, Santa Cruz) (Chair), Melanie Manion (University of Wisconsin, Madison), and Andrew Roberts (Northwestern University).
Committee’s Remarks on the Award Winner: Alexandra Scacco’s innovative dissertation draws on both qualitative and quantitative evidence to shed light on why people participate in Christian-Muslim riots in northern Nigeria. The study of the determinants of ethnic conflict is relevant to the study of comparative democratization because of the challenges it poses to elected governments. The research strategy combined in-depth interviews with original large-scale survey that included both participants and non-participants, comparing patterns in two different cities. In the process, she also successfully convened and coordinated a large team of Nigerian researchers. The field research deployed innovative sampling techniques to find both rioters and comparable non-rioters, as well as to shield the identity of the respondents. This allowed her not only to get more accurate responses, but also to be able to measure levels of bias. This focus on eliciting large numbers of frank responses avoided conventional tendencies to impute motivations based only on external assumptions about what drives observed behavior.
Best Paper Award: Judith Kelley (Duke University) won the Best Paper Award for her work on “D-Minus Elections: How Conflicting Norms and Interests Influence whether International Election Observers Endorse Elections.”
This year’s award committee included Jan Teorell (Lund University) (Chair), Adrienne LeBas (Oxford University), and Joshua Tucker (New York University).
Committee’s Remarks on the Award Winner: International election monitoring has been on the rise over the last twenty years, both in terms of frequency and substantial significance. The decision by monitoring organizations to endorse or not endorse an election is often seen as pivotal. But what determines this decision? Is it only election quality itself? In this award-winning paper, Judith Kelley shows that monitors’ assessments are guided by a range of often contradictory norms and practical interests, sometimes even swaying them into accepting highly flawed elections. Drawing on a novel data set, covering 591 observer missions to 305 national elections from 1984 to 2004, the author finds, for example, that the chances an election will be endorsed increase as irregularities take less obvious forms, such as when they mostly concern pre-election administrative flaws. But elections are also more easily accepted in the aftermath of pre-election violence, arguably in order to promote stability and avoid post-election conflict. Moreover, endorsement is more likely by IGOs than by NGOs, although this bias decreases as IGO membership grows more democratic. This paper is not only well-written and lucidly organized. It also presents novel theory, systematic new data and intriguing findings on what determines election observer endorsement. On all relevant dimensions—style, theory, data and findings—it is a model of a conference paper. By drawing out implications for constructivists and advocacy network scholars, the author also succeeds in bridging the divide between IR and comparativists in the future study of democratization.
2008 Award Winners
Juan Linz Dissertation Award: Mr. Juan Pablo Luna (Universidad Católica de Chile) won the Juan Linz Dissertation Award for his work on “Programmatic and Non-Programmatic Party-Voter Linkages in Two Institutionalized Party Systems: Chile and Uruguay in Comparative Perspective.” His dissertation advisor was Evelyne Huber (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Award committee members included Gwendolyn Sasse (Oxford University) (Chair), Aníbal Pérez Linán (University of Pittsburgh), and Juliet Johnson (McGill University).
Committee’s Remarks on the Award Winner:
The Juan Linz Prize is given to the best dissertation in the field of comparative democratization. This year’s award committee included Juliet Johnson (McGill University), Aníbal Perez-Linán (University of Pittsburgh) and Gwendolyn Sasse (University of Oxford). The committee was pleased to receive dissertations that presented a wide range of different angles on comparative democratization and varied in their regional focus. I am delighted to announce that the panel was unanimous in its decision. One dissertation clearly stood out from the rest. The winner of this year’s prestigious Juan Linz Prize is: Juan Pablo Luna Farina. Not only his first name makes him a worthy winner of the prize… Juan’s dissertation, completed in the Department of Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, analyses the ‘Programmatic and Non-Programmatic Party-Voter Linkages in Two Institutionalized Party Systems: Chile and Uruguay.’ The dissertation explores the differences in the type and quality of linkages between citizens and politicians in Latin America. By choosing two different cases of higher quality representation in Latin America – rather than starting from an assumption of weakness – Juan effectively analyzes the determinants of the variation in the quality of representation. One of the counterintuitive findings is that political representation suffers in Latin America even under conditions where existing theories would expect high-quality representation to exist. What is most impressive about the dissertation is that Juan has managed to creatively and effectively combine quantitative and qualitative methods rather than just paying lip-service to the benefits of such an exercise. The dissertation’s exemplary research design rests on sophisticated survey data analysis, interview-based fieldwork, a qualitative examination of the path-dependent historical evolution of party-voter linkages, and a careful comparison of the two cases at the district level. The detailed analysis of local politics allows Juan, for example, to detect similarities in the strategies of two successful parties with opposite ideological leanings. Juan approaches his enormous amount of empirical data with conceptual rigor, a good eye for both the significant nuances and the generalizable trends. His findings enable a more nuanced understanding of the nature of political representation and deserve to be taken up by scholars working on other countries and regions of democratization. This is what we hope to encourage with the Juan Linz Prize. Congratulations on an excellent piece of research! We expect to hear a lot more about you in the future.
Best Book Award: The Best Book Award was delivered to Kenneth Greene (University of Texas at Austin) for his book, Why Dominant Parties Lose: Mexico’s Democratization in Comparative Perspective (Cambridge University Press, 2007) and to Amaney Jamal (Princeton University) for her book, Barriers to Democracy: The Other Side of Social Capital in Palestine and the Arab World (Princeton University Press, 2008).
Award committee members included James L. Gibson (Washington University) (Chair), Sheri Berman (Columbia University), and Goldie Shabad (Ohio State University).
Committee’s Remarks on the Award Winners:
Why have dominant parties persisted in power for many decades in countries across the globe? Why after such long periods of dominance do most of these parties eventually lose? Kenneth Greene’s Why Dominant Parties Lose is a masterful investigation of these questions, and will be of great interest to all members of the Comparative Democratization section. Greene shows that the key to dominant parties’ success is their control over public resources. This allows them to engage in extensive patronage, attracting ambitious elites and ensuring voter loyalty. When the system works well, dominant parties are ensured of electoral support even before the voting begins; they are thus able to avoid the taint and potential loss of legitimacy that often accompanies electoral fraud or open repression. But Greene goes beyond this to show how dominant parties control over material resources does more than simply ensure their hold over elites and voters. He shows how it “warps” the development of opposition groups as well. Since the material incentives to support the dominant party are so high in these systems, only those with strong ideological commitments will opt out. This means oppositional parties are likely to be highly ideological, a factor that, when coupled with their lack of resources, limits their appeal to the most discontented, fringe elements. Given these dynamics, Greene shows that a dominant party is only likely to see its grip on power erode when its control over material resources wanes. (as when, for example, a state loses control over nationalized industries). Although his research and evidence is primarily drawn from the case of the PRI in Mexico, Greene extends his analysis to dominant party regimes in other authoritarian (Malaysia and Taiwan) and democratic (Japan and Italy) contexts. Greene’s findings have important implications for our understanding of dominant party regimes, their transitions to democracy, the stability/fragility of authoritarianism, and the interaction between economic and political reform.
The committee was impressed by the force and originality of Greene’s arguments, the scope and range of his methods and research, and the care he took to investigate the dominance, persistence and downfall of dominant parties. Why Dominant Parties Lose reminds us that investigating why democratization does not happen is as interesting and important as investigating why it does.
Amaney Jamal has written an excellent book on the origins of democratic attitudes and the effects of associational life on trust and support for particular regime types. She asks, are the sources of democratic attitudes different across different regimes types, and more specifically, do civic organizations have the same positive effects in authoritarian regimes as in democracies? These questions are of great importance to the comparative study of democratization. Using Palestine as her primary case study and looking closely at organizations linked to the Palestinian National Authority, she teaches us that civic organizations have very different effects in non-democratic states. Far from being schools for democrats as some of our literature would suggest, civic organizations produce actors who mirror the attitudes and behaviors of their political patrons. In keeping with the larger literature on social capital, she finds that members of associations do display higher levels of trust than non-members. But, breaking with the older literature, she shows that their attitudes toward democracy are ambivalent at best. The association between trust and democratic values posited in work from established democracies does not hold.
Jamal’s Barriers to Democracy is a fascinating test of the theory of social capital built with evidence from survey data, open-ended interviews with elites, observation of over one-hundred individual organizations, and comparative reference to Morocco, Egypt, and Jordan. The committee was impressed with the force and import of Jamal’s arguments and the truly impressive empirical data and research she brought to bear on her analysis. The study represents comparative politics at its best.
Best Article Award: Jason Brownlee (University of Texas at Austin) won the Best Article Award for his “Hereditary Succession in Modern Autocracies,” which appears in the July 2007 World Politics.
Award committee members included Richard Snyder (Brown University) (Chair), Robert Fishman (University of Notre Dame), and José Antonio Cheibub (University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign).
Committee’s Remarks on the Award Winner:
In addition to a dozen nominated articles, the committee considered all the articles published during the 2007 calendar year that were listed in the Comparative Democratization Section’s Newsletter. This yielded a total of 114 articles, which were divided equally among the 3 committee members. In evaluating the articles, the committee considered the importance of the core question addressed, as well as the magnitude of the empirical and theoretical contribution. The members of the committee were especially looking for work that made them think about issues of democratization in a new way. In particular, the committee aimed to select the article most likely to be assigned in a world-class graduate course on democratization taught ten years from now.
An Honorable Mention was awarded to Zachary Elkins (University of Texas at Austin) and John Sides (George Washington University) for their co-authored article, “Can Institutions Build Unity in Multiethnic States?” published in The American Political Science Review. This article offers a creative synthesis of literatures on nationalism, democratization, and conflict resolution. Moreover, it demonstrates an impressive and imaginative use of different data sets to address an important, timely question.
The Prize for the Best Article of 2007 was awarded to Jason Brownlee (University of Texas at Austin) for his article, “Hereditary Succession in Modern Autocracies,” published in World Politics. Brownlee’s analysis takes a two-pronged approach, addressing the questions: (1) under what conditions can dictators control their own successions? and (2) when dictators can control their own successions, how do they do it? Brownlee aims to explain why some rulers are able to “keep things in the family,” thereby extending their rule through hereditary succession and dynasticism. Brownlee cogently argues that understanding hereditary succession requires a focus on cases of non-hereditary succession, and he thus constructs an impressive and original data set of 258 dictators who ruled for at least three years during the post-World War II period. Brownlee builds an innovative explanatory framework focusing on the institutional context in which non-democratic rulers operate, especially on the critical relationship between authoritarian leaders and the political parties through which they govern. This focus on ruler-party relations yields a key finding: Where the ruler’s authority predates the party, hereditary succession is most likely, because there is no established institutional mechanisms through which elites who are not part of the ruling family can preserve the regime and, hence, their own privileges. Conversely, where the ruler is himself a product of a pre-existing party, hereditary succession occurs very rarely.
Brownlee’s analysis is important because it gets inside non-democratic regimes by focusing on ruler-party relations, thereby shedding new light on the contrasting fortunes of modern autocracies. The study is remarkable for its impressive empirical scope. Brownlee provides a unifying conceptual and explanatory framework that pulls together cases as disparate as Bulgaria, Paraguay, Haiti, Tanzania, China, Iran, North Korea, Singapore, and Togo. The committee thus concludes that Brownlee’s article is the most likely to be assigned in a world-class graduate course on democratization taught ten years from now.
Best Field Research Award: Daniel M. Corstange won the Best Field Research Award for his work on “Institutions and Ethnic Politics in Lebanon and Yemen.”
Award committee members included Kathryn Stoner-Weiss (Stanford University) (Chair), Michael Mitchell (Arizona State University), and Devra C. Moehler (Cornell University).
Committee’s Remarks to the Award Winner:
Corstange’s thesis uses truly innovative research techniques in exploring ethnic politics in Lebanon and Yemen. His superb work was carried out in particularly challenging field conditions. His project demonstrates a formidable command of variety of essential research skills – Arabic language mastery, experimentation, elite interviewing, and powerful observational capabilities. Finally, the mixed methodology Corstange employs, as well as the theoretical sophistication with which he pursues generalization in his work is very impressive. In our deliberations this summer, we found particularly insightful the observation that Bob Axelrod, Daniel’s dissertation supervisor made in his letter of recommendation for the award as particularly apt in summing up the reaction one has in reading this thesis: “why didn’t I think of that?” Here is a dissertation destined to be used as a model for those committed to combining outstanding and intrepid fieldwork with the best of political science theory.
Jennifer Pribble (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) for “Protecting the Poor: Welfare Politics in Latin America’s Free Market Era”
Pribble’s dissertation examines the divergence among Latin American countries in the extent to which they offer social protection. She conducts case studies of Chile and Uruguay, and combines these with a statistical analysis of all of Latin America. Of particular note in this fine work, is the remarkable breadth and depth of interviews with key political actors in each of her case studies. Her use of interviews is truly exemplary. The committee found this dissertation to be an impressive combination of some of the best aspects of quantitative and qualitative research.
Rebecca Weitz-Shapiro (Columbia University) for “Choosing Clientelism: Political Competition, Poverty, and Social Welfare Policy in Argentina”
Weitz-Shapiro’s dissertation is a remarkable study of something extremely hard to research – the effects of clientelism on voter behavior. She measures how local governments implement a federally funded social welfare program and uses this to assess to what degree voters might punish politicians who employ clientelism in making distributive choices. One of the more impressive aspects of this dissertation fieldwork is the organization required to assemble a team of Argentine students to carry out surveys of heads of social welfare agencies in 120 towns and cities in 3 provinces. Weitz-Shapiro combines this survey technique with an experiment to argue that middle class voters in particular frown on the use of clientelism by politicians in the distribution of social welfare. In sum, this dissertation combines exhausting and exhaustive fieldwork, and innovative research methodology in an impressive examination of a key and little understood aspect of Latin American politics.
Best Convention Paper: Jan Teorell (Lund University) and Axel Hadenius (Lund University) won the Best Convention Paper for their work on “Elections as Levers of Democracy: An Empirical Investigation.”
Award committee members included Kurt Weyland (University of Texas at Austin) (Chair), Kathleen Collins (University of Minnesota), Marsha Posusney (Bryant University).
Committee’s Remarks to Award Winner:
The Best Paper Prize Committee of APSA’s Comparative Democratization Section comprised of Kathleen Collins (University of Minnesota), Marcia Pripstein Posusney (Bryant University), and Kurt Weyland (University of Texas at Austin, chair) received a number of very good submissions this year. While the decision was not easy, the committee agreed on awarding the prize to Jan Teorell and Axel Hadenius of Lund University for their paper on “Elections As Levers of Democracy: An Empirical Investigation.” This paper analyzes a topic that is of central importance for democratization in particular and the study of political institutions in general, namely whether the holding of elections has a beneficial impact on democratization. A number of recent authors have advanced this optimistic claim and backed it up with a good deal of statistical and case study evidence. But professors Teorell and Hadenius in their well-designed investigation pour a bucket of cold water on this thesis. They demonstrate through a rigorous comprehensive statistical analysis of a worldwide sample of over an 85-year time frame that elections, most likely, do not have a democratizing effect.
The paper is a model of scholarship in its conceptual clarity, theoretical sophistication, and empirical thoroughness. The authors are very systematic in designing their investigation and careful and insightful in interpreting their empirical results. They are especially strong in drawing conclusions from their null findings, moving from more specific, noncontroversial points to a reflection on institutions and their causal effect in general. We recommend the paper to all members of the Comparative Democratization section and hope that it will soon appear in print!
2007 Award Winners
The 2007 best book award was awarded to Beatriz Magaloni (Stanford University) for her book, Voting for Autocracy: Hegemonic Party Survival and Its Demise in Mexico (Cambridge University Press, 2006) and Jillian Schwedler (University of Massachusetts, Amherst) for her book, Faith in Moderation: Islamist Parties in Jordan and Yemen (Cambridge University Press, 2006). Committe Chair Frances Hagopian (University of Notre Dame) presented the award. Other committee members were Dennis Galvan (University of Oregon) and Benjamin Smith (University of Florida).
Committee’s Remarks on the Award Winners
The Organized Section on Comparative Democratization of the American Political Science Association has selected two co-winners of the award for the best book on comparative democratization published in 2006:
Beatriz Magaloni (Stanford University) for her book, Voting for Autocracy: Hegemonic Party Survival and Its Demise in Mexico (Cambridge University Press, 2006) and Jillian Schwedler (University of Maryland) for her book, Faith in Moderation: Islamist Parties in Jordan and Yemen (Cambridge University Press, 2006).
The Committee carefully considered thirty-one wonderful pieces of scholarship about democracy and democratization around the world. We thank all the authors and their publishers for the opportunity to read and learn from them. In this exceptionally strong pool, these two books stood out for the scope of their ambition – both took nearly a decade to research and write; for engaging big, important, comparative themes in specific contexts about which the authors have deep knowledge; and for the intelligence and care with which they were written.
Beatriz Magaloni’s Voting for Autocracy is a huge book about how the most successful authoritarian regime of the twentieth century – that of the Mexican PRI – maintained power for so long, and why it lost its grip and democratization ensued. To address this question, it brings theoretical precision and smart and multiple methods to bear on impressive original datasets gathered over the course of many years. This work breaks new theoretical ground about virtually every aspect of democratization – regime stability and change, the nature of “hybrid” regimes, the macroeconomics and micropolitics of clientelism, and voter choice and mass coordination dilemmas. It may also be considered the definitive work on Mexican politics. The Committee warmly congratulates Professor Magaloni on this truly impressive accomplishment.
Jillian Schwedler’s Faith in Moderation (a great title for a great book) tackles some of the truly important questions in the world today, “Do Islamist political parties threaten emerging democratic processes?” and “Does inclusion engender moderation and tolerance?” The author elegantly dissects these questions into their component propositions, and methodically addresses the inclusion-moderation thesis through detailed case studies of the Islamic Action Front party in Jordan, which did become more moderate in orientation as a result of participation in democratic processes, and the Islah party in Yemen, which did not. Drawing from years of fieldwork and hundreds of interviews, Schwedler explains these divergent outcomes by opening the black box of actors, narratives, and identity politics within organizations and between organizations and regimes to illuminate the boundaries of what each party could justify on ideological grounds. This work is also notable for taking on the transitions literature and placing Mideast politics back in comparative politics. A superb piece of work, the committee warmly congratulates Professor Schwedler on an outstanding and important piece of scholarship.
Juan Linz Dissertation Award: The Juan Linz Dissertation Award was presented to Susan Hyde for her dissertation, “Observing Norms: Explaining the Causes and Consequences of Internationally Monitored Elections.” Her dissertation advisor was David A. Lake (University of California, San Diego). Committee Chair Marc Morjé Howard (Georgetown University) presented the award. The other committee members included Michael Bernhard (Penn State University) and Kenneth Roberts (Cornell University).
Committee’s Remarks on the Award Winner:
The committee agreed to award the 2007 Juan Linz Dissertation Prize in the Comparative Study of Democracy to Susan Hyde of Yale University.
Dr. Hyde received her Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, San Diego in 2006. Her dissertation is entitled “Observing Norms: Explaining the Causes and Consequences of Internationally Monitored Elections.” Hyde’s dissertation was chaired by Professor David A. Lake. The other members of her committee were Professor Gary W. Cox, Clark C. Gibson, Kristian S. Gleditsch, Peter Gourevitch, and Carlos H. Waisman.
Hyde’s dissertation explores the rise of international election monitoring in countries that hold regular elections without necessarily being democratic. She documents how this norm of observation, which emerged on a limited basis in the 1960s, has become increasingly widespread since the 1990s. Hyde argues that the initial impetus for election monitoring came from domestic leaders who sought to demonstrate to the international community that they were committed to democratization. But over time, she shows, even the most autocratic leaders began to request international observers as a means of appearing to be democratic, while simultaneously attempting—often with considerable success—to undermine the democratic process by manipulating the electoral results. This remarkable and rapid change in the norm and practice of international election monitoring has significant consequences for the future of democratization throughout the world.
In addition to being substantively important and interesting, Hyde’s dissertation is methodologically rich and innovative. She develops a formal model of incumbent decision-making, yielding hypotheses that she then tests with several cross-national datasets. She also presents the results of two original field experiments: one conducted in Indonesia during the 2004 presidential elections, the other during Armenia’s 2003 presidential elections. Finally, she also bridges subfields by bringing together substantive questions that are important in both comparative politics and international relations. Overall, Hyde’s dissertation makes important theoretical, empirical, and methodological contributions to the study of comparative democratization.
Best Article Award: Richard Snyder (Brown University) won the Best Article Award for “Does Lootable Wealth Breed Disorder: A Political Economy of Extraction Framework?” which appeared in the October 2006 Comparative Political Studies. Daniel Brinks and Michael Coppedge also received an honorable mention for their article “Diffusion is No Illusion: Neighbor Emulation in the Third Wave of Democracy,” which appeared in the May 2006 Comparative Political Studies. Committee Chair Lucan Way (University of Toronto) presented the award. Other committee members were Staffan Lindberg (University of Florida) and Donna Lee Van Cott (Tulane University).
Committee’s Remarks on the Award Winners
It is a great pleasure to announce the award for the best article in the field of comparative democratization. This award is based on a comprehensive review of all articles on democratization published in 2006 that was carried out by myself, Staffan Lindberg, and Donna Lee Van Cott. This was a difficult task. There were a lot of very good articles.
We first want to recognize for an honorable mention Daniel Brinks and Michael Coppedge’s “Diffusion is No Illusion: Neighbor Emulation in the Third Wave of Democracy.” This article addresses an important mechanism of democratization that has often been hinted at but rarely demonstrated in a methodologically sophisticated manner. Thus, Brinks and Coppedge show that the degree of democracy found among a country’s neighbors has an important impact on the success of democracy, even when we control for other factors such as levels of development. This article provides an important contribution to a key debate in regime studies.
In addition, it is a particular pleasure to present the award for best article to Richard Snyder for his article “Does Lootable Wealth Breed Disorder: A Political Economy of Extraction Framework?” Now this choice for an award in the field of comparative democratization requires some explanation because the article barely mentions the word democracy.
This article focuses on the sources of political order in economies dominated by lootable resources that often fuel civil war.
In this article, Snyder lays out a compelling typology of institutions of extraction or the interaction between political leaders and economies rooted in lootable resources such as diamonds and drugs. He argues that different institutions of extraction strongly affect the ability of leaders to create stable political order.
He shows that the dominance of lootable resources does not always generate disorder as often assumed but in many cases fuel stability, although quite undemocratic stability.
In particular, Snyder focuses on what he calls “joint extraction,” which refers to cooperation between private and public actors who share income often associated by illicit activities.
Leaders provide protection for internationally illegal activity, such as drug trade — in exchange for access to resources. Such arrangements have provided an important source of stability for rogue regimes including Burma and Sierra Leone.
The breakdown of such arrangements often leads to instability, as occurred when arrangements between Lebanese diamond traders and the autocratic government in Sierra Leone broke down in the 1980s, thus fueling civil war.
The article provides both a novel theory as well as compelling case studies of Sierra Leone and Burma.
Now the problems of political order and lootable wealth have been almost exclusively examined by specialists in international relations. But this issue is also important for regime studies. For many countries in the world, countries that have enormous importance for global security, the central regime question is not whether or not there are free and fair elections but instead whether there exists any form of political order.
Snyder’s work challenges us in a compelling way to expand the range of questions covered in regime studies. As Snyder shows, patrimonial dictatorship is often a successful outcome. (Something that we seem to be learning in Iraq). As Snyder’s work has demonstrated, we need to look beyond the question of whether or not a country is democratic or authoritarian.
Authoritarian regimes—chaosocracy in Sierra Leone and totalitarianism in North Korea—are often as different from each other as authoritarian regimes are different from democracies. This is Snyder’s first contribution.
Another major, but certainly not last, contribution of this article is his conceptualization of the interaction between state and economic actors and his exploration of how that interaction shapes regime outcomes. This begins to address a major hole in the field of regime studies.
Almost forty years after the publication of Lipset’s Political Man, for example, we still have only a vague understanding of how and why economic development promotes democracy. A lot of work has been done showing correlations, but relatively little work showing causal mechanisms. Snyder’s typology of institutions of extraction should be an inspiration for work in other areas of regime studies.
In sum, it is a true pleasure to give this award to Richard Snyder for a groundbreaking article in the true sense of the word. This is the kind of article that will not simply generate another hypothesis but may create whole fields investigation previously ignored.
Best Field Research Award: The Best Field Research Award was presented to Marc Berenson (University of Sussex) for his ground breaking dissertation, titled “Recreating the State: Governance and Power in Poland and Russia.” Committee Chair Milada Anna Vachudova (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) presented the award. Other committee members were Lily Tsai (MIT) and Sherrie Baver (CUNY/City College of New York).
Committee’s Remarks on the Award Winners
The committee is delighted to announce that the recipient of the 2007 Best Dissertation Field Work Award is Marc Berenson. His ground breaking dissertation, titled “Recreating the State: Governance and Power in Poland and Russia,” asks why some transitional states are more effective in administering policy than others. The central finding is that the level of governance on the ground is higher in Poland than in Russia, despite Russia’s profile as a strong state. Poland has performed better due to a mix of Weberian bureaucratic rationalism on the part of the state and of healthier state-society relations that are characterized by societal trust in the state itself instead of by fear of the state’s coercive measures. The committee was impressed with the outstanding multi-method fieldwork accomplished by Dr. Berenson.
It included gathering extensive data on tax collection in Russia and Poland; designing and administering surveys on tax compliance; recruiting “confederate petitioners” to request and then evaluate assistance from social service agencies; and interviewing officials, experts and bureaucrats. Dr. Berenson received his PhD at Princeton University, and has taken up a post at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom. During the 2007-2008 academic year, he is a Max Weber Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy.
Best Convention Paper Award: Kenneth Greene (University of Texas at Austin) won the Best Convention Paper Award for his paper on “Authoritarian Regimes in Comparative Perspective.”
Committee Chair Joseph Klesner (Kenyon College) presented the award. Other committee members included Jason Brownlee (University of Texas at Austin) and Steven Heydemann (Georgetown University).
Committee’s Remarks on the Award Winners
The selection committee agreed that the Best Paper given at a Comparative Democratization panel at the 2006 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association is by Kenneth F. Greene of the University of Texas at Austin. Greene’s “A Resource Theory of Single-Party Dominance,” given on Panel 44-30: Authoritarian Regimes in Comparative Perspective, is superb example of research, combining a question that has been important to comparative politics for decades, a variety of survey instruments, empirical and formal models, case studies, and a clear presentation. He triangulates a wide range of methods on his puzzle – “Why do dominant parties persist in power for decades and under what conditions do challengers expand enough to beat them at the polls, transforming these systems into fully competitive democracies?” – and puts it all together in a very accessible final product. Based on a detailed case study of Mexico and comparative evidence from Italy and Malaysia, the research he shares in this paper includes a formal model that shows how asymmetric access to resources forces challengers to dominant parties to take non-centrist positions and become under-competitive. He tests his theory with survey data he gathered from party elites in Mexico and extends the argument with comparative evidence from Malaysia and Italy, which demonstrate both the continuation of dominance in the former and the end of dominance in the latter. All in all, this paper was a tour de force, combining field research, formal and statistical models, and carefully chosen case studies.
2006 Award Winners
The 2006 best book award was awarded to M. Steven Fish (University of California at Berkeley) for his study of the failure of democratization in post-communist Russia, Democracy Derailed in Russia (CUP, 2005). Committee chair Andreas Schedler (CIDE) presented the award. Other committee members were Doh Shin (University of Missouri) and Anna Gryzmala-Busse (University of Michigan).
Committee’s Remarks on the Award Winner
The Organized Section on Comparative Democratization of the American Political Science Organization has decided to grant the award for the best book on comparative democratization published in 2005 to M. Steven Fish from the University of California at Berkeley for his book Democracy Derailed in Russia: The Failure of Open Politics (Cambridge University Press).
The award committee chose the book for the commendable conceptual, theoretical, and methodological care and clarity it displays in explaining the political trajectory of modern Russia.
Fish argues that contemporary Russia cannot be regarded a democratic regime, despite the holding of regular multiparty elections. To establish this controversial initial claim, he goes to considerable length to document violations of democratic norms, such as election fraud, voter coercion, and the exclusion of parties and candidates, that have been observed regularly in Russian national and local elections since the mid 1990s. As his insightful discussion shows, framing our empirical research and defining the very puzzles that animate it depends on careful conceptualization and close knowledge of our objects of study.
As he proceeds from the conceptualization and classification of his case to its explanation, Fish delivers an admirable instance of a methodological species that is still rare and under-developed in comparative politics: an embedded case study. His explanatory reconstruction of the regime trajectory of a single country, Russia, is systematically embedded in the statistical examination of available cross-national evidence (worldwide as well as regional).
With his methodologically transparent and self-conscious framework, large-N explorations establish patterns of co-variation between theoretically meaningful variables. As he finds, neither the level of socio-economic development nor religion nor political culture are to blame for “Russia’s Quandary.” Instead, he argues, the key variables that explain the “failure of open politics” in Russia are corruption fuelled by natural riches (petroleum and natural gas); the stagnation of liberalizing economic reform; and the constitutional concentration of power in the hands of the executive. In establishing his causal claims, Fish combines his in-depth knowledge of Russian politics with further statistical data that allow to situate the Russian republic in comparative perspective.
In addition to its methodological innovativeness and theoretical reflexiveness, the book, we would like to add, also provides considerable aesthetic pleasures. It is delightfully written, with touches of humour we do not find too often in serious comparative research.
All in all, we extend our warmest congratulations to the deserving winner!
Juan Linz Dissertation Award: Mieczyslaw Boduszynski(University of California at Berkeley) won the 2006 Juan Linz Dissertation Award for his dissertation “Explaining Post-Communist Diversity: Regime Change in the Yugoslav Successor States, 1990-2004.” Fabrice Lehoucq (CIDE) presented the award to Mr. Boduszynski. The other committee members included Nancy Bermeo (Princeton University), who chaired the committee, and Marc Morjé Howard (Georgetown University).
Committee’s Remarks on the Award Winner
The committee agreed to award the 2006 Juan Linz Dissertation Prize in the Comparative Study of Democratization to Mieczyslaw Pawel Boduszynski.
Dr. Boduszynski received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley in 2004. His dissertation is entitled “Explaining Post-Communist Diversity: Regime Change in the Yugoslav Successor States, 1990-2004.” Boduszynski’s dissertation was chaired by Professor Andrew C. Janos. The other members of his committee were Professor George W. Breslauer, Steven K. Vogel, and John Connelly.
Boduszynski’s dissertation explains the divergent trajectories of post-communist states in Eastern and Central Europe after 1989. He focuses on Slovenia, which became a “substantive democracy,” Croatia, which became a “simulated democracy,” Serbia-Montenegro, which became a “populist authoritarian regime,” and Macedonia, which became an “illegitimate democracy.” The author argues that initial economic conditions and modes of accommodation and resistance to Western efforts to transfer liberal norms shaped the political trajectories of these countries.
The committee decided to make Dr. Boduszynski’s thesis the recipient of the 2006 Juan Linz Dissertation Award for two reasons. First, this dissertation artfully combines the use of a large number of interviews, local and international newspapers, survey data, and secondary sources to explain developments in four former republics of Yugoslavia. Second, it marshals this evidence to analyze the interaction between choices made by public officials, citizens, and Western governments and prevailing and evolving economic and political conditions to account for why rather different regimes emerged in these republics. Boduszynski’s dissertation is, in other words, a wonderful example of the sort of the historical and path-contingent research that Juan Linz pioneered in his professional life.
Juan Linz congratulated the winner and made a few remarks, recalling particular issues and debates about democratization relating to Yugoslavia.
Best Article Award: Lucan Way (University of Toronto) won the award for the best article published on comparative democratization in 2005 for his article, “Authoritarian Statebuilding and the Sources of Regime Competitiveness in the Fourth Wave,” which appeared in the January 2005 World Politics. Committee chair Lisa Baldez (Dartmouth College) presented the award. Other committee members were Michele Penner Angrist (Union College) and Laurence Whitehead (Oxford University – Nuffield College).
Committee’s Remarks on the Award Winner
The winner of the Best Article Award this year goes to Lucan Way, for “Authoritarian State Building and the Sources of Regime Competitiveness in the Fourth Wave: The Cases of Belarus, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine,” which appeared in the January 2005 World Politics.
The article addresses two central questions: first, why did these four countries go from open to closed in the 1990s, and second, what explains variations in the level of competitiveness among them? Way demonstrates persuasively that variations across the four cases cannot be explained by transitions literature. He develops a new approach that emphasizes two main explanatory variables: incumbent capacity and strength of national identity that can be framed in anti-incumbent terms. To paraphrase (somewhat glibly): incumbents have little control of state institutions in the wake of dissolution of the previous regimes, but they figure it out over time, and nationalism taps into the kinds of emotions that facilitate mobilization to a far greater extent than calls of “let’s privatize!” This article constitutes a “fundamental rethinking of the transition process.” He even invokes the name of this organized section as evidence of the overly hopeful and analytically misleading assumptions on which democracy promotion is built.
Indeed. At points the argument reads like a how-to manual for burgeoning authoritarians, with statements such as “Leaders must be able to keep allies in line” and “In an international environment that demands at least nominal adherence to democratic procedures, autocrats must be able to rig elections as well as intimidate the opposition, control the media and prevent economic actors from supporting rival forces.” We suspect that the appearance of this article generated a big jump in World Politics subscriptions from countries like Venezuela and Bolivia. We wonder if USAID and Freedom House thought about canceling their subscriptions when they read the piece.
We found Way’s article distinctive for its theoretical significance, empirical detail and strong writing. The fieldwork is both broad and deep. We like the strategy of including one big country and three smaller but very significant ones. The quotes from extensive interviews contain revealing comments from political officials, evidence of skill and finesse on his part. Way writes extremely well and in a way that suggests an arid sense of humor. In one example, he lists a series of actions such as bombing parliament, shutting down TV stations, threatening to imprison anyone who “slanders” incumbents, and then states that “such actions suggest that it is unlikely that democratic values account for the extensive political competition in these countries in the early 1990s.”
A note on methodology might prove helpful to future committees. We considered a wide range of articles, including all the 2005 articles listed in the section’s newsletters, approximately 10 articles nominated for the prize, and relevant articles that appeared in Comparative Politics, Comparative Political Studies, World Politics, Legislative Studies Quarterly, APSR, AJPS and Perspectives on Politics. We did not define a metric for comparing quality a priori; each committee member developed her own criteria.
Best Field Research Award: The 2006 award for best dissertation fieldwork was awarded to two co-receipients:
Manal Jamal (McGill University) for her dissertation, “After the Peace Processes: Foreign Donor Assistance and the Political Economy of Marginalization in Palestine and El Salvador,” chaired by Juliet Johnson (McGill).
Anupma Kulkarni (Stanford University) for her dissertation, “Demons and Demos: Violence, Memory and Citizenship in Post-Conflict States,” chaired by Terry Karl (Stanford).
Committee chair Leslie Anderson (University of Florida) presented the award. Other committee members were Milada Anna Vachudova (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) and Lucan Way (University of Toronto).
Committee’s Remarks on the Award Winners
The co-winners of the Best Field Work Award were Dr. Manal Jamal and Dr. Anu Kulkarni. Dr. Jamal is a new PhD graduate of McGill University whose dissertation is entitled “After the Peace Processes: Foreign Donor Assistance and the Political Economy of Marginalization in Palestine and El Salvador,” chaired by Dr. Juliette Johnson. For her field work Dr. Jamal did 130 interviews in Arabic and Spanish focusing upon the role of NGOs in the process of democratization. Dr. Kulkarni is a new PhD graduate of Stanford University whose dissertation is entitled “Demons and Demos: Violence, Memory and Citizenship in Post Conflict States,” chaired by Dr. Terry Karl. Dr. Kulkarni did interviews with victims and perpetrators of human rights violence in the areas of South Africa known as KwaZuluNatal and the Western Cape.
Best Convention Paper Award: Marc Morjé Howard (Georgetown University) and Phillip Roessler (University of Maryland) won the award for best convention paper for their paper “Liberalizing Electoral Outcomes in Competitive Authoritarian Regimes,” which has subsequently been published in AJPS. Committee chair Kirk Bowman (Georgia Institute of Technology) presented the award. Other committee members were Gabriella Montinola (University of California, Davis) and Arang Keshavarzian (Concordia University).
Committee’s Remarks on the Award Winners
Marc Howard and Philip Roessler’s “Liberalizing Electoral Outcomes in Competitive Electoral Regimes” significantly advances the important sub-field of hybrid regimes. The authors both engage in a typological and conceptual discussion of how to conceptualize what they call “competitive authoritarianism” and study how at certain points elections under these authoritarian regimes may trigger a liberalizing break, a concept they call the liberalizing electoral outcome. The authors use quantitative research methods to compare the explanatory power of competing hypotheses and a powerful case study of Kenya to illuminate the causal mechanisms. The result is a well-written, innovative, and compelling argument that represents a major contribution to the comparative democratization literature and a model for our students and ourselves of targeting multiple methods on our research questions.
2005 Award Winners
Juan Linz award for the best dissertation in the comparative study of democratization
The first Juan Linz award went to Staffan Lindberg of Kent State University (Ph.D., University of Lund, Sweden) for his dissertation, “The Power of Elections.” Runner-up for the award was Gulnaz Sharafutdinova (Ph.D., George Washington University, now at Miami University of Ohio), for her dissertation, “The Dynamics of Postcommunist Transformation: Varieties of Authoritarian Regimes and Paradoxes of Crony Capitalism in Russia’s Regions.” Incoming section chair Jonathan Hartlyn (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) chaired the committee and presented the award. The two other committee members were Richard Snyder (Brown University) and Kathleen Collins (University of Notre Dame).
Best Book Award
The award for best book on comparative democratization was shared by Charles Tilly for his book, Social Movements: 1768-2004 (Paradigm, 2004) and Kurt Schock for his book, Unarmed Insurrections: People Power Movements in Nondemocracies (University of Minnesota, 2004). The award was presented by the best book committee chair Steven Fish (University of California at Berkeley). The other members of the committee were Wendy Hunter (University of Texas, Austin) and William Case (Griffith University, Australia).
Best Article Award
Best article committee chair Ellen Lust Okar (Yale) presented the best article award to Lisa Baldez (Dartmouth College) for her article, “Elected Bodies: The Gender Quota Law for Elective Bodies in Mexico,” Legislative Studies Quarterly (May 2004). The other committee members were Tim Frye (Ohio State) and Mark Jones (Rice University).
Best Field Work Award
The award for best field work went to Lilly Tsai (Ph.D., Harvard, now at MIT), for her dissertation, “The Informal State: Government, Accountability and Public Goods Provision in Rural China.” Joe Klesner (Kenyon College) chaired the committee, and fellow committee members Tim Sisk (University of Denver) and Claudia Dahlerus (Albion College) presented the award.
2004 Award Winners
Best Book Award
The award for best book on comparative democratization was presented to Nancy Bermeo for her book, Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times: The Citizenry and the Breakdown of Democracy (Princeton University Press, 2003). Richard Vengroff (University of Connecticut) chaired the panel and presented the award. The other members of the panel were Sharon Wolchik (George Washington University) and Shaheen Mozaffar (Bridgewater State College).
Best Article Award
The section’s award for best article was presented to Quan Li (Pennsylvania State University) and Rafael Reuveny (Indiana University) for “Economic Globalization and Democracy: An Empirical Analysis.” Valerie Bunce (Cornell University, committee chair), who presented the award, worked with Joseph Klesner (Kenyon College, and Gretchen Casper (Pennsylvania State University) on the selection panel.
Best Field Work Award
The prize for best field work was awarded for the first time this year, in an effort to reward and encourage graduate students to undertake field work. The selection committee included Nancy Bermeo (Princeton University, chair), Michael Foley (Catholic University of America) and Mike Hanshard (Northwestern University). Emilia Gioreva, a Ph.D. candidate from the University of Florida supervised by Leslie Anderson, earned the award for field work on rural women in Bulgaria and Ecuador.
2003 Award Winners
Best Book Award
The award for best book on comparative democratization was presented to Susan Stokes (University of Chicago) for her book Mandates and Democracies: Neoliberalism by Surprise in Latin America (Cambridge University Press, 2001) and James Mahoney (Brown University) for his book Legacies of Liberalism: Path Dependence and Political Regimes in Central America (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001). The selection committee included Gretchen Casper (Pennsylvania State University, chair), Michael Foley (Catholic University of America), and Abdeslam Maghraoui (Princeton University).
Best Article Award
The prize for best article was presented to Anirudh Krishna (Duke University) for his article “Enhancing Political Participation in Democracies: What Is the Role of Social Capital?” which appeared in the May 2002 Comparative Political Studies. The selection committee included Nicolas van de Walle (Michigan State University, chair), Eva Bellin (Hunter College), Valerie Bunce (Cornell University), and Eric Thun (Princeton University).
2002 Award Winners
Best Paper Award
The prize for best paper presented at the 2001 American Political Science Association’s annual meeting was awarded to Michael McFaul (Stanford University) for his paper “The Fourth Wave of Democracy and Dictatorship: Noncooperative Transitions in the Postcommunist World,” which was published in the January 2002 World Politics. Atul Kohli (Princeton University) served as the selection committee.