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Making Votes Count: Strategic Coordination in the World's Electoral Systems (Political Economy of Institutions and Decisions) Paperback – March 28, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0521585279 ISBN-10: 0521585279

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Product Details

  • Series: Political Economy of Institutions and Decisions
  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (March 28, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521585279
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521585279
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #840,755 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Every serious scholar of political systems should read this book....Cox is a master when it comes to explaining ideas generated by a logic-based theory....this book is a very important contribution to our knowledge about electoral systems. It will be the major book in this area for some time to come." Melvin Hinch, American Political Science Review

"...this is a great book, a must for all those interested in the study of elections. Cox powerfully demonstrates the fruitfulness of looking at the impact of electoral systems from the perspective of formal theory, provided this is combined with solid empirical analysis." André Blais, Canadian Journal of Political Science

"This book is a unique contribution to the fields of comparative politics and formal political theory. It offers a model integrating many diverse aspects of electoral competition that together bring into existence systems of national poltical parties. Gary Cox combines social choice theory, public choice theory, spatial theory, and the institutional approach to electoral studies to reach a new level of understanding of political competition in democracies. Gary Cox's new book is not only a theoretical study, but also a useful reference on comparative electoral institutions. ...the suthor also draws attention to such often overlooked institutions as rules of candidate nomination and party registration." Olga Shvetsova, Political Science Quarterly

Book Description

This book investigates strategic coordination in elections worldwide. Although the classics of electoral studies have dealt with issues of coordination, this is the first book that employs a unified game-theoretic model to study strategic coordination--including both strategic voting and strategic entry--worldwide and that relies primarily on constituency-level rather than national aggregate data in testing theoretical propositions about the effects of electoral laws.

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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
I'm a Freshman at a German university. I had to read most chapters of this book for a class project. First of all I have to state that this book has a really sophisticated language and is quite hard to read for Undergraduate students. I think that Mr. Cox did an excellent work with this book. The excellence starts already with the very logical structure of this book: Parts, Chapters, Sub-chapters and one more sub-division of each sub-chapter. In the first three chapters, Mr. Cox gives us a very detailed insight on electoral systems and the different schools of thoughts about the linkage between electoral systems and party systems. I could easily state that someone who is totally "illiterate" about elections would not have any difficulties reading the book, since every single aspect is being represented in the first three chapters. Then Cox moves on the much more exciting discussions: The game-theoretic stage of strategic voting. Once more in this part of the book, his very structured division is remarkable. In each of the chapters, he does not only talk about the electoral backgrounds only, he also emphasizes the importance of microeconomics (an individual's maximization of utility). Since the reader is also someone eager to maximize its own utility, the themes proposed by Cox about strategic voting in the local level make all sense perfectly. Finally Cox has included some chapters about the Macroeconomic level of elections. Themes about the general effects of electoral systems on the whole political system (for example national party system, the composition of the parliament, government policies and coalitions) are discussed in great depth.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Book is one of the most famous in the electoral studies, primarily because of thorough analysis of strategic voting and Duverger's law. Comparative data on electoral systems of large amount of countries is also useful tool for research. Book provided to me several interesting insights regarding strategic coordination and strategic voting. Definitely recommended.
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4 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Faruk Ekmekci on May 1, 2007
Format: Paperback
It has been an unsettled debate for years among the political scientist whether we should name the discipline as `Political Science' or simply Politics or Government. Having read 150 pages of Gary Cox's Making Votes Count, which is praised on the back cover for being "original", and not encountering with any non-intuitive argument in it, I thought maybe it is time for us to reconsider the connection between politics and science. Of course, everyone has its own understanding and definition of science; yet I guess we can define science in a conventional way as "any endeavor that produces relevant information for us to understand the reality." Now, what original and non-intuitive arguments/findings does Cox produce in Making Votes Count?

Unfortunately, current political science studies, in particular the quantitative branch of it, deals more with "confirming the obvious" than with revealing what is not obvious to naked eye. I have not been able to understand the value of studies that start and end with theories like "states fight more with their neighbors than with their non-neighbors" or "international organizations increases the likelihood of peaceful settlement of disputes". As homo sapiens, do we not have enough common sense or intuition to know these `facts' without the help of the so-called `political scientists'? In the same vein, do we have enough justification to say that the mere `quantification' of a commonsensical truth can be considered a scientific improvement? Coming back to Making Votes Count, does it have any achievement beyond summarizing the basics of electoral politics and quantifying the commonsensical convictions on voting behavior?

The main argument of Cox is that "electoral institutions determine how votes translate into seats," (p.
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