For the best article in the American Political Science Review and Perspectives on Politics during 2004
Award Committee: Stacy Burnett Gordon, University of Nevada; Fernando Limongi, Universidade de Sao Paulo; Amy G. Mazur, Washington State University; Kenneth Newton, University of Southampton; Daniel Verdier, Ohio State, chair
Best article in Perspectives on Politics
Recipient: Mala Htun, New School for Social Research
Article: "Is Gender like Ethnicity? The Political Representation of Identity Groups." (Perspective on Politics, Vol. 2, No. 3).
Best article in the American Political Science Review
Recipient: Jonathan Bendor, Stanford University, and Adam Meirowitz, Princeton University
Article: "Spatial Models of Delegation." (American Political Science Review Vol. 98, No. 2).
Citation: This year's Heinz Eulau Award Committee has selected Mala Htun's article, "Is Gender like Ethnicity? The Political Representation of Identity Groups," as the best article published in Perspective on Politics in 2004. This article examines the diversity of policies in which countries provide statutory representation to minority groups. The committee was impressed by several features of Htun's study. First, she looks at an important problemâ€"the under-representation of minorities broadly defined. Second, she establishes a simple and convincing functional correspondence between the type of statutory policy and the minority group. If a group identity crosscuts party lines, as such is the case with gender, Htun argues, the law should request that every party reserves a proportion of its seats for members of that group. If, instead, a group has a specific partisan base, as such is the case with ethnic and racial minorities, the law should request that seats within the legislature be reserved for members of these groups so as to insure the political survival of the minority. Third, she provides us with good evidence that the overwhelming majority of electoral democracies conform to this rule. Fourth, she performs an in-depth and revealing study of the unexplained residual. In some cases, she argues, the historical legacy was so strong that the wrong policy ended up being applied to the wrong group, with expected dysfunctional consequences. Htun's article succeeds in offering an intuitively simple and well-supported answer to a question that bears on an important theoretical problem in the field of electoral politics.
This year's Heinz Eulau Award Committee has selected Jonathan Bendor and Adam Meirowitz's article, "Spatial Models of Delegation," as the best article published in the Review in 2004. This article manages to break new grounds in an important and well-studied area of research. The authors proceed to a systematic, critical, and illuminating survey of existing models. The model of delegation has the advantage of being more general than existing ones, relaxing existing assumptions while nevertheless preserving important established results. The Bendor and Meirowitz model also yields several new substantive implications, shifting the emphasis away from risk aversion toward information provision, thereby providing a clearer intuition about delegation, one that is closer to classical treatments, as well as a more tractable formal treatment.
This year's committee was also enthusiastic about another article in the Review by Avner Greif and David D. Laitin "A Theory of Endogenous Institutional Change," tackling the important, multidisciplinary, and complex topic of how institutions change. The committee especially welcomed the authors' strategy to bridge rational choice and historical approaches, opening the way to the use of game theory in historical studies of institutions. Greif and Laitin's article provide a contribution to the systematic study of unintended consequences and the aggregate effect of marginal changes.
Last, this year's committee was also enthusiastic about two articles that appeared in Perspectives in 2004. The first is Nicholas Sambanis' "Using Case Studies to Expand Economic Models of Civil War," a subtle and intelligent article that offers a sharp and critical review of the formal-quantitative models of the causes of civil war. Sambanis offers ways to refine such models with case studies carefully selected to understand the motives and processes that lead to civil wars. The second is Suzanne Mettler and Joe Soss's "The Consequences of Public Policy for Democratic Citizenship: Bridging Policy Studies and Mass Politics," a look at the important, though underappreciated, question of how do policies influence the electorate. The authors offer a useful framework to study membership, framing, and participation.