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Between Science and Engineering: Reflections on the APSA Presidential Task Force on Political Science, Electoral Rules, and Democratic Governance

Political Scientists as Electoral System Engineers

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 September 2013

John Carey
Dartmouth College
Simon Hix
London School of Economics and Political Science
Mala Htun
University of New Mexico
Shaheen Mozaffar
Bridgewater State University
G. Bingham Powell
University of Rochester
Andrew Reynolds
University of North Carolina


Political scientists have contributed to the world of electoral systems as scientists and as engineers. Taking stock of recent scientific research, we show that context modifies the effects of electoral rules on political outcomes in specific and systematic ways. We explore how electoral rules shape the inclusion of women and minorities, the depth and nature of political competition, and patterns of redistribution and regulation, and we consider institutional innovations that could promote political equality. Finally, we describe the diverse ways that political scientists produce an impact on the world by sharing and applying their knowledge of the consequences of electoral rules and global trends in reform.

Symposium: Between Science and Engineering
Copyright © American Political Science Association 2013 

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