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Comparing Democracies

Comparing Democracies
Elections and Voting in a Changing World

Fourth Edition

April 2014 | 256 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
This book provides you with a theoretical and comparative understanding of the major topics related to elections and voting behaviour. It explores important work taking place on new areas, whilst at the same time covering the key themes that you’ll encounter throughout your studies.

Edited by three leading figures in the field, the new edition brings together an impressive range of contributors and draws on a range of cases and examples from across the world. It now includes:

  • New chapters on authoritarian elections and regime change, and electoral integrity
  • A chapter dedicated to voting behaviour
  • Increased emphasis on issues relating to the economy.
Comparing Democracies, Fourth Edition will remain a must-read for students and lecturers of elections and voting behaviour, comparative politics, parties, and democracy.
Introduction: Democracy and Autocracy
Electoral Institutions and Representation
Parties and Party Systems
Citizenship and Participation
Election Campaigns
The Political Representation of Women and Minorities
The Elusive Economic Vote
Voting Behavior: Choice and Context
Electoral Integrity and Political Legitimacy
Authoritarian Elections and Regime Change
Conclusion: Why Elections Matter

Compared to its predecessors, the fourth edition of Comparing Democracies is entirely different and yet it is much the same. It is much the same because it offers again a superb collection of chapters dealing with democratic institutions and processes in a changing and multifaceted political world. And it is entirely different because the focus of the collections has been altered to include measurement issues of democracy; a growing emphasis of the profession on the context of the vote, and on the manner in which elections are conducted. As a consequence of that, all chapters but one are entirely new or substantially revised. The group of contributors, while largely different from previous editions, is again outstanding. It introduces some of the most important new work on those issues to the broader community of scholars interested in elections and democracy. For all these reasons, Comparing Democracies will remain a must-read for students and lecturers of elections and voting behaviour, comparative politics, parties, and democracy.              

Professor Hermann Schmitt
University of Manchester

The 4th edition of Comparing Democracies continues the editors’ tradition of bringing together leading scholars to address the fundamentals of democratic politics and major advances in scholarship.  In this edition, they expand their view to include recent advances in thinking about how even apparently futile competition in electoral-like settings shapes outcomes in authoritarian regimes. This and other new additions mean that this work now touches on every nation in a truly comparative way without losing sight of democratic fundamentals.

Professor John Aldrich
Duke University

Indeed, more so than any of the earlier editions, the present volume is characterised by a considerable use of statistical models. Another valuable aspect of the book is that it provides a list of all the electoral systems used around the world, which includes disproportionality scores, the effective number of parties and the percentage of female MPs...For the comparative political scientist this edition is an improvement upon earlier editions. It is a safe prediction that the individual chapters will be cited extensively in years to come.


Matt Qvortrup
Political Studies Review

Comparing Democracies, Fourth Edition, brings together eleven prominent scholars who cover a wide range of highly relevant topics in the field of electoral research and provides a great resource for young scholars and students to build a theoretical and comparative understanding in the wide range agenda of political science.

Miroslav Nemcok
Czech Journal of Political Science

Clearly written. It is a good option for Bachelor students wanting to know more about democratization. Good to keep it as a reference book.

Mrs Rosa M. Navarrete
Faculty of Social Science, University of Mannheim
September 9, 2016

Many students find it very useful as an essential reading.

Professor Lisheng Dong
Government Policy and Public Administration, Chinese Academy of Sciences
April 26, 2015

Classic text on comparative politics.

Dr Garrett O'Boyle
Political Science , Trinity College Dublin
March 4, 2015

A well written book detailing the challenges facing modern democracies.

Mr Michael Parsons
Faculty of Business and Society, University of South Wales
July 12, 2014

Excellent text that I use for an Elections and Voting course. It deals with a lot of the issues pertinent to the course and brings experts using original data presenting the state of the art in an accessible manner. I particularly like that new editions really are new editions, that respond to new challenges facing democracy.

There are possibly a few issues that haven't been dealt with in CD4 - challenges to democracy from the economic crisis; impact of leadership on democracies (voting) and political communications (not just campaigns)

Dr Eoin O'Malley
Law and Government, Dublin City University (dcu)
June 17, 2014
Key features

New to the Fourth Edition of Comparing Democracies:

  • Chapters on authoritarian elections and regime change, and electoral integrity
  • A chapter dedicated to voting behaviour
  • Increased emphasis on issues relating to the economy.
  • Chapters on authoritarian elections and regime change, and electoral integrity
  • A chapter dedicated to voting behaviour
  • Increased emphasis on issues relating to the economy.

Lawrence LeDuc

Richard Gene Niemi

Richard G. Niemi is Don Alonzo Watson Professor of Political Science at the University of Rochester, where he has taught for forty-five years and has served as department chair, associate dean for graduate studies, and interim dean. He earned his PhD from the University of Michigan in 1967. Professor Niemi has been a Guggenheim fellow and a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Lund (Sweden) and at the University of Iowa. In 2007–2009 he was president of the American Political Science Association’s Section on State Politics and Policy. He is a foreign... More About Author

Pippa Norris

Pippa Norris is Director of the Democratic Governance group in the United Nations Development Programme in New York and the Maguire Lecturer in Comparative Politics at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. Recent books include Sacred and Secular: Politics and Religion Worldwide (with Ronald Inglehart, 2004), Electoral Engineering: Voting Rules and Political Behavior (2004), and Driving Democratization: What Works (2006). Norris, who is a political scientist, has served as an expert consultant for many international bodies including the UN, UNESCO, the Council of Europe, International IDEA, the National Endowment for... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781446281987
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