a1 University of California
The twelve books under review, written by scholars representing many different disciplines and nationalities, are proof that the comparative analysis of electoral systems has made significant progress in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It is still not a well-developed field, but it has clearly become a less underdeveloped one. Renewed interest in research on electoral systems has been stimulated by major changes in election rules—usually in the direction of proportional representation—that have been adopted in several countries, and by a vigorous debate on electoral reform in countries that now rely mainly on the plurality method. The United States is the principal deviant case. Two election systems frequently serve as models for electoral reform: the Irish single transferrable vote and the West German additional-member system.
Arend Lijphart is Professor of Political Science at the University of California, San Diego. His publications include Democracy in Plural Societies (1977), Conflict and Coexistence in Belgium (1981), Representation and Redistricting Issues (1982, co-edited with Bernard Grofman, Robert McKay, and Howard Scarrow), and Democracies (1984). He is currently working on a comparative study of election rules and party systems.