Political Science 575                                                                                 Professor Greg Schmidt

Fall 2007                                                                                                   Phone: 753-7039  

DuSable 464                                                                                             e-mail: gschmidt@niu.edu 

M 3:30-6:10 p.m.                                                                                      Office: Zulauf 426

                                                                                                                  Hours: M 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.



Electoral and Party Systems


This seminar provides a comparative introduction to party and electoral systems.  After a brief introduction to the course and some key indicators, we will examine party systems in established and emerging democracies, some general issues in the study of electoral systems, and the operation of the principal types of electoral systems worldwide.  In the second half of the course, students will present country case reviews of electoral systems and profiles of specific elections.  We will also explore electoral engineering and the impact of electoral systems for the descriptive representation  of women.  Throughout the course there will be an interplay between general theories and specific cases.


Students who wish to audit this course are welcome if they register for three hours of POLS 590 for this purpose.  Auditors are expected to regularly attend class and encouraged to do the readings.  They are also invited to participate in class discussions if they have done the corresponding readings.


Seminar Requirements and Policies


1. Readings.  Please purchase a copy of David M. Farrell, Electoral Systems:  A Comparative Introduction (Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire, England:  Palgrave, 2001) from the University or Village Commons bookstores. 


Each week all seminar participants will complete a set of common readings.  Most of the readings are listed in the course outline.  Additional readings on electoral systems in specific countries will be assigned for the weeks of November 12 and 19.  All readings are in Farrell’s book, will be available on electronic reserve, or will be passed out in class.


I reserve the right to make reasonable adjustments to the syllabus.


2. Class Participation.  The seminar format will be taken seriously.  It is essential that students come to each class meeting prepared to discuss the readings, as well as the country case reviews and electoral profiles prepared by their classmates.  General class participation, based on quantity and especially quality, will account for 20 percent of the final grade.


3. Exam.  An in-class, closed book exam scheduled for October 29 will cover the material presented up to that point.  The format will be short-answer and essay.  A list of potential questions will be distributed at least one week before the exam.


4. Country Case Review.  During the latter half of the course, each student will write a short paper (maximum 5 pages) reviewing a case study of the electoral system in a specific country in light of the general issues treated in the course.  The student also will lead the class discussion of the respective country.


Most of the case studies can be found in Michael Gallagher and Paul Mitchell, eds., The Politics of Electoral Systems (New York:  Oxford University Press, 2005), which includes chapters on

Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Finland, France, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, and Spain.  (I would rather that students not review Germany, Ireland, the United Kingdom, or the United States, as these countries will be covered extensively in class.)  Additional case studies on Bolivia (ch. 19), Mexico (ch. 20) and Venezuela (ch. 18) are available in Matthew Soberg Shugart and Martin P. Wattenberg, eds. Mixed-Member Electoral Systems:  The Best of Both Worlds? (New York:  Oxford University Press, 2001).  Both books are on print reserve.


Countries will be assigned no later than October 22.  Students will select cases in an order determined by random numbers.  The completed papers must be e-mailed to the instructor and fellow students no later than Friday, November 9 at 5 p.m.  The reviews and corresponding readings

will be discussed in class on November 12 and 19.  Grades will be based on the written work and performance during the class discussion.  In making their oral presentations, reviewers may find it useful to present their key findings and arguments in a reader-friendly outline.


5. Electoral Profile.  Each student also will complete an electoral profile of up to 10 pages on any country with competitive elections for which there is adequate data.  (However, a student may not do the country case review and the electoral profile on the same country.)  The instructions for the electoral profile are attached.  The profiles must be sent to the instructor and fellow students by e-mail no later than Sunday, November 25 at 5 p.m.  They will be discussed in class on November 26 and December 3.  Grades will be primarily based on the written work, though the oral presentation will also be taken into account.


6. Course Grade.  The following weights will be used in computing final grades:


Class Participation                                                      20%

            Exam                                                                           30%

            Country Case Review                                                 20%

Electoral Profile                                                          30%





Course grades will be distributed as follows:


Final Average                                                        Final Grade


93% and above                                                            A

            90-92%                                                                         A -

            87-89%                                                                         B+

            83-86%                                                                         B

            80-82%                                                                         B-

            70-79%                                                                         C

            60-69%                                                                         D

            Below 60%                                                                  F


In grading, I will abide by the standards adopted by the Political Science Graduate Committee.  A grade of "A" is reserved for those students whose written and oral work is of the highest quality: thorough, creative, well-substantiated, insightful, and analytical.  "A" grades are earned by seminar participants who understand that graduate education is to a large extent self-education.  During their graduate careers these students will do much more than fulfill formal requirements.


A grade of "A-" can be earned by seminar participants who demonstrate most, but not all, of the qualities listed in the preceding paragraph.


A grade of "B+" is given for written and oral work that demonstrates a good grasp of the material.


A grade of "B" indicates satisfactory written and oral work.


A grade of "B-" is given to students whose performance meets only minimal expectations at the graduate level.  I will not recommend these students for the Ph.D. program.


A grade of "C" means that the student's performance is less than adequate for graduate study in the Department of Political Science.  This grade will make it more difficult for the student to maintain the minimum 3.00 GPA needed to avoid academic probation and dismissal.


Grades of "D" and "F" are given in those rare cases when a student makes little or no effort to meet the course requirements.


7. Academic Integrity.  Seminar participants are expected to comply with NIU and Department of Political Science policies regarding academic integrity and plagiarism.  Please see the NIU Graduate Catalog and the Department of Political Science Graduate Handbook.  Any suspicion of academic misconduct will be treated in accordance with university and departmental policies and



8. Adjustments in Course Schedule.  I will do my best to follow the schedule outlined below, but I reserve the right to make reasonable adjustments with adequate warning if unforeseeable or

uncontrollable circumstances (e.g. weather, illness, travel) so warrant.  It is not fair, however, to change the schedule simply to accommodate the preferences of some seminar participants because

other students almost inevitably suffer.   











Introduction to Course


Some Key Indicators


Rein Taagepera and Matthew Soberg Shugart, Seats and Votes:  The Effects and Determinants of Electoral Systems (New Haven:  Yale University Press, 1989), pp. 19-20, 68, 77-81, 104-108.





Party Systems I:  Established Democracies   


John Kenneth White, “What is a Political Party?,” in Richard S. Katz and William Crotty, eds., Handbook of Party Politics (London and Thousand Oaks, CA,: Sage, 2006), pp. 5-15.


Alan Ware, Political Parties and Party Systems (Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 1996), pp. 147-175, 184-202.


David M. Farrell, Electoral Systems:  A Comparative Introduction (Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire, England:  Palgrave, 2001), pp.  161-164 (Section 7.2 through top two lines of p. 164).


Rein Taagepera, “The Number of Parties as a Function of Heterogeneity and Electoral System,” Comparative Political Studies 32-5 (August 1999), pp.  531-548.





Party Systems II:  Beyond Established Democracies


Scott Mainwaring and Mariano Torcal, “Party System Institutionalization and Party System Theory After the Third Wave of Democratization,” in Katz and Crotty, eds., Handbook of Party Politics, pp.204-227. 


Philippe C. Schmitter, “Parties Are Not What They Once Were,” in Larry Diamond and Richard Gunther, eds., Political Parties and Democracy (Baltimore:  The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001), pp. 67-89.


Gary M. Reich, “Coordinating Party Choice in Founding Elections:  Why Timing Matters,” Comparative Political Studies 34-10 (December 2001), pp. 1237-1261.


Farrell, Electoral Systems, pp. 164-65 (remainder of Section 7.2).



The Study of Electoral Systems


Farrell, Electoral Systems, pp. 1-18.


Andrew Reynolds, Ben Reilly, and Andrew Ellis, 2005. Electoral System Design:  The New International IDEA Handbook (Stockholm:  International IDEA, 2005), Annex A, pp. 166-173.


Elections and Democracy

Jørgen Elklit and Andrew Reynolds, “A Framework for the Systematic Study of Election Quality,” Democratization 12-2 (April 2005), pp. 147-162.


Andreas Schedler, “The Menu of Manipulation,” Journal of Democracy 13-2 (April 2002), pp. 36-50.


Andrew Reynolds and Marco Steenbergen, “How the World Votes:  The Political Consequences of Ballot Design, Innovation and Manipulation,” Electoral Studies 25-3, (September 2006), pp. 570-598.


Richard G. Niemi and Paul S. Herrnson, “Beyond the Butterfly:  The Complexity of U.S. Ballots,” Perspectives on Politics 1-2 (June 2003), pp. 317-326.


David Samuels and Richard Snyder, “The Value of a Vote:  Malapportionment in Comparative Perspective,” British Journal of Political Science 31-4 (October 2001), pp. 651-671.





Plurality Systems


Farrell, Electoral Systems, pp. 19-48.


Shaun Bowler, Todd Donovan, and Jennifer van Heerde, “The United States of America:  Perpetual Campaigning in the Absence of Competition,” in Michael Gallagher and Paul Mitchell, eds., The Politics of Electoral Systems (New York:  Oxford University Press, 2005), pp. 185-205.


Gary W. Cox, Making Votes Count:  Strategic Coordination in the World's Electoral Systems (New York:  Cambridge University Press, 1997), pp. 69-98.

Richard F. Bensel and M. Elizabeth Sanders, "The Effect of Electoral Rules on Voting Behavior:  The Electoral College and Shift Voting," Public Choice 34 (1979), pp. 69-85.

Tim Anderson, “Winners and Losers in the Electoral College:  A Look at Three Elections.”  Starred paper, NIU Department of Political Science.





Majoritarian Systems


Farrell, Electoral Systems, pp. 49-67.


Matthew Soberg Shugart and John M. Carey, Presidents and Assemblies:  Constitutional Design and Electoral Dynamics (New York:  Cambridge University Press, 1992), pp. 206-225.


Cox, Making Votes Count, pp. 123-138.


Gregory D. Schmidt, "Fujimori's 1990 Upset Victory in Peru:  Electoral Rules, Contingencies, and Adaptive Strategies," Comparative Politics (April 1996), pp. 321-354.


Ben Reilly, "The Alternative Vote and Ethnic Accommodation:  New Evidence from Papua New Guinea," Electoral Studies (1997) 16-1, pp. 1-11.

Bernard Grofman and Scott L. Feld, “If You Like the Alternative Vote (a.k.a. the Instant Runoff), then You Ought to Know about the Coombs Rule,” Electoral Studies 23-4 (2004), pp. 641-659.





List Systems of Proportional Representation


Farrell, Electoral Systems, pp. 68-96, 153-161, 168-174, 192-207.


Taagepera and Shugart, Seats and Votes, pp. 67-76, 126-137.


Barry Ames, "Electoral Strategy Under Open-List Proportional Representation," American Journal of Political Science 39-2 (May 1995), pp. 406-33.


The STV System of Proportional Representation


Farrell, Electoral Systems, pp. 121-152.





Mixed Electoral Systems


Farrell, Electoral Systems, pp. 97-120.


Matthew Soberg Shugart and Martin P. Wattenberg, eds. Mixed-Member Electoral Systems:  The Best of Both Worlds? (New York:  Oxford University Press, 2001), pp. 9-51, 571-596.


Renske Dorenspleet, “Electoral Systems and Democratic Quality:  Do Mixed Systems Combine the Best or the Worst of Both Worlds? An Explorative Quantitative Cross-National Study,” Acta Politica 40-1 (2005), pp. 28-49.


Misa Nishikawa and Erik S. Heron, “Mixed Electoral Rules’ Impact on Party Systems,” Electoral Studies 23-4 (2004), pp. 753-768.


Assignment of Country Case Reviews










Electoral Engineering and Democratization


Farrell, Electoral Systems, pp. 75-191.


Andrew Reynolds, Ben Reilly, and Andrew Ellis, Electoral System Design:  The New International IDEA Handbook (Stockholm:  International IDEA, 2005), pp. 9-15, 159-164.


Rein Taagepera, “How Electoral Systems Matter for Democratization,” Democratization 5-3 (Autumn 1998), pp. 68-91.


Carles Boix, “Setting the Rules of the Game:  The Choice of Electoral Systems in Advanced Democracies.” American Political Science Review 93-3 (September 1999), pp. 609-624.

Takayuki Sakamoto, "Explaining Electoral Reform:  Japan versus Italy and New Zealand," Party Politics 5-4 (October 1999), pp. 419-438.

Benjamin Reilly, “Electoral Systems for Divided Societies,” Journal of Democracy 13-2

(April 2002), pp. 156-170.

Dwight Y. King, Half-Hearted Reform:  Electoral Institutions and the Struggle for Democracy in Indonesia (Westport, Conn.:  Praeger, 2003), pp. 47-104, 221-230.




Country Case Reviews due by e-mail (5 p.m.)




Country Case Reviews


Reading TBA; depends on students’ selection of cases (see point 4 above)




Country Case Reviews (continued)


Electoral Systems and the Representation of Women


Farrell, Electoral Systems, pp. 165-168.


Richard E. Matland, “Enhancing Women’s Political Participation: Legislative Recruitment and Electoral Systems,” in Azza Karam and Julie Ballington, eds., Women in Parliament: Beyond Numbers, Revised edition, (Stockholm: International IDEA, 2005), pp. 93–111.                   


Mala N. Htun and Mark P. Jones, “Engendering the Right to Participate in Decision-Making: Electoral Quotas and Women’s Leadership in Latin America,” in Nikki Craske and Maxine Molyneux, eds., Gender and the Politics of Rights and Democracy in Latin America (Houndmills, England: Palgrave, 2002), pp. 32-56.


Gregory D. Schmidt, “The Implementation of Gender Quotas in Peru: Legal Reform, Discourses, and Impacts” and “Unanticipated Successes: Lessons from Peru's Experiences with Gender Quotas in Majoritarian Closed List and Open List PR Systems,” in Julie Ballington, ed., The Implementation of Quotas: Latin American Experiences (Stockholm: International IDEA, 2003), pp. 42-50 and 120-133. 


Gregory D. Schmidt, “The Election of Women in List PR Systems: Testing the Conventional Wisdom.”  Manuscript.





Electoral Profiles due by e-mail (5 p.m.)





Presentation of Electoral Profiles





Teaching Evaluation


Presentation of Electoral Profiles (continued)


Research on Electoral Systems: Achievements and Challenges


Matthew Soberg Shugart, “Comparative Electoral Systems Research:  The Maturation of a Field and New Challenges Ahead,” in Gallagher and Mitchell , eds. The Politics of Electoral Systems, pp. 25–55.












































Instructions for Electoral Profile


Your profile will be based on background information and data on (a) five consecutive elections to the same legislative chamber in any country with competitive elections; or (b) single elections to comparable legislative chambers in any two competitive countries of your choice.  Whether you choose Option "A" or "B," your data must include the total number of seats and valid votes (or percentages thereof) won by each party in each election. 


Background information and data for many counties can be found in some of the volumes placed on print reserves and at various web sites, such as the Lijphart Elections Archive at the University of California, San Diego (http://dodgson.ucsd.edu/lij/).


Although you may organize your profile in any way that you choose, please make sure that it includes the following:


1. Description of the electoral rules for major offices (assembly, both chambers if bicameral; head of government/state if directly elected) during the period of the elections that you analyze (i.e.

five consecutive elections in the same country under Option "A" or single elections in different countries under Option "B").  You should discuss the district magnitude(s) and allocation rules used for each type of election, including PR formulas, adjustment seats, and thresholds, if relevant.  If district magnitude varies or is affected by adjustment seats or thresholds, try to estimate the effective magnitude.  Feel free to discuss other features that you feel are important, such as ballot structure, turnout, malapportionment, any allegations of fraud, etc.


2. The advantage ratios for each party in each election.  (In this and all subsequent computations, please consider "Others" as a party.) 


If you choose Option "A," please graph these advantage ratios and the respective percentages of the vote, following the format in Chapter 7 of Taagepera and Shugart (T&S).  Please also list the

coordinates used in the graph.  Do your data points appear to approximate one of the proportionality profiles in Chapter 7?  If so, which one?


3. The effective number of parties in each election, based on both vote and seat shares.  Under Option "A," contrast the indicators from the political system that you examine with other political

systems.  Under Option "B," contrast the indicators from the two different political systems.  See Chapter 8 of T&S.


4. A brief discussion of the major cleavages and/or issue dimensions in the electoral system and the respective positions of the major parties (Option "A" only).


5. The deviation from proportionality in each election.  Under Option "A" contrast your findings with other political systems.  Under Option "B" compare the indicators from the two systems.  See

Chapter 10 of T&S.


6. General Conclusions.  Interpret the patterns that you have identified.  Do(es) the electoral system(s) produce the sorts of results that we would expect?  Do other factors have an impact?  Can

you explain any differences over time (Option "A") or between systems (Option "B")?  Feel free to identify and discuss any other significant issues in the system(s) that you analyze, including

any evidence of strategic behavior (see Cox).


Please include complete citations of all sources used.  Please also append the raw data used to compute 2, 3, and 5 above.


Please Note: In grading, I will take into account the difficulty of the case(s) and the extent to which it (they) is (are) discussed in the assigned readings.  In other words, ceteris paribus, a good profile of a "difficult" case not treated in the assigned readings would merit a somewhat higher grade than a good profile of an "easy" case or one that is discussed extensively in the reading.  However,

it is possible to earn an "A" with a first-rate profile of any political system.



































Items on Print Reserve



Gary W. Cox, Making Votes Count: Strategic Coordination in the World's Electoral Systems (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997).  JF1001 .C691997 (1 day)


Michael Gallagher and Paul Mitchell , eds. The Politics of Electoral Systems (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005) (on order) 2 hour building use


Thomas T. Mackie and Richard Rose, The International Almanac of Electoral Studies, 3rd edition (Washington: Congressional Quarterly, 1991).  JF1001 M17 1991 2 hour building use


Tom Mackie and Richard Rose, A Decade of Election Results: Updating the International Almanac (Glasgow: Centre for the Study of Public Policy, University of Strathclyde, 1997) Personal Copy Delivered. 2 hour building use


Dieter Nohlen, Elections in the Americas: A Data Handbook (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005) JF1001 .E363 2005 2 hour building use


Dieter Nohlen, Florian Grotz, and Christof Hartmann, eds., Elections in Asia and the Pacific: A Data Handbook, 2 vols. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001) JQ38 .E44 2001 2 hour building use


Dieter Nohlen, Michael Krennerich, and Bernard Thibaut, eds., Elections in Africa: A Data Handbook (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999) JQ1879.A55 E44 1999

2 hour building use


Matthew Soberg Shugart and Martin P. Wattenberg, eds. Mixed-Member Electoral Systems: The Best of Both Worlds? (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001).  JF 1071 M59 2001 2 hour building use


Rein Taagepera and Matthew Soberg Shugart, Seats and Votes: The Effects and Determinants of Electoral Systems (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989). JF1001 .T331989 (1 day)