Proportional Representation Bibliography
There is a growing realization that many of the problems afflicting American elections can be traced to the electoral system itself, in particular to our winner-take-all approach to electing officials. Douglas Amy demonstrates that switching to proportional representation elections—the voting system used in most other Western democracies, by which officials are elected in large, multimember districts according to the proportion of the vote won by their parties—would enliven democratic political debate, increase voter choice and voter turnout, ensure fair representation for third parties and minorities, eliminate wasted votes and “spoliers,” and ultimately produce policies that better reflect the public will. Looking beyond new voting machines and other quick fixes for our electoral predicament, this new edition of Real Choices/New Voicesoffers a timely and imaginative way out of the frustrations of our current system of choosing leaders.—New York Times Book Review
(See also 2nd Edition, 2002)
Amy 1998 — Douglas J Amy: A Brief History of Proportional Representation in the United States. Douglas Amy (1998)
Amy 2002 — Douglas J Amy: Real Choices / New Voices: How Proportional Representation Elections Could Revitalize American Democracy. Columbia University Press; 2nd edition (2002)
There is a growing realization that many of the problems afflicting American elections can be traced to the electoral system itself, in particular to our winner-take-all approach to electing officials. Douglas Amy demonstrates that switching to proportional representation elections—the voting system used in most other Western democracies, by which officials are elected in large, multimember districts according to the proportion of the vote won by their parties—would enliven democratic political debate, increase voter choice and voter turnout, ensure fair representation for third parties and minorities, eliminate wasted votes and “spoliers,” and ultimately produce policies that better reflect the public will. Looking beyond new voting machines and other quick fixes for our electoral predicament, this new edition of Real Choices/New Voicesoffers a timely and imaginative way out of the frustrations of our current system of choosing leaders.—New York Times Book Review (of the first edition)
Barber 2000 — Kathleen L Barber: A Right to Representation: Proportional Election Systems for the Twenty-First Century. Ohio State University Press (2000)
From the publisher:
The United States is one of very few democracies in the world to use winner-take-all elections to choose representatives for legislatures, city councils, and even most school boards. A typical American election occurs in a single-member district or ward, where the candidate with the most votes wins, whether chosen by a majority or, in a multicandidate race, by only a plurality of voters.
From this practice stems the endemic underrepresentation of minorities in our political life. Enforcement of the Voting Rights Act has led to increased minority electoral success, but the strategy most commonly used—creation of majority-minority districts—has come under attack in the Supreme Court.
Alternative voting methods—cumulative voting, limited voting, instant run-off, and several varieties of proportional representation—are gaining acceptance in the United States, but are not widely understood. In this book, an outgrowth of her earlier Proportional Representation and Electoral Reform in Ohio, Kathleen L. Barber explores their origins, explains their use and adaptability, and supplies empirical evidence of how they actually work in practice.
The increasing diversity of the American population in the twenty-first century makes the issue of representation a compelling one, as the nation seeks to integrate into its political life an ever-widening array of groups. Barber argues that the right to vote is the right to cast an effective vote, which in turn generates the right to representation.
Bowler 2000 — Shaun Bowler & Bernard Grofman, editors: Elections in Australia, Ireland, and Malta under the Single Transferable Vote: Reflections on an Embedded Institution. University of Michigan Press (2000)
From the publisher:
The Single Transferable Vote, or STV, is often seen in very positive terms by electoral reformers, yet relatively little is known about its actual workings beyond one or two specific settings. This book gathers leading experts on STV from around the world to discuss the examples they know best, and represents the first systematic cross-national study of STV. Furthermore, the contributors collectively build an understanding of electoral systems as institutions embedded within a wider social and political context, and begins to explain the gap between analytical models and the actual practice of elections in Australia, Ireland, and Malta. Rather than seeing electoral institutions in purely mechanical terms, the collection of essays in this volume shows that the effects of electoral system may be contingent rather than automatic. On the basis of solid empirical evidence, the volume argues that the same political system can, in fact, have quite different effects under different conditions.
Contributors to the volume are Shaun Bowler, David Farrell, Michael Gallagher, Bernard Grofman, Wolfgang Hirczy, Colin Hughes, J. Paul Johnston, Michael Laver, Malcom Mackerras, Michael Maley, Michael Marsh, Ian McAllister, and Ben Reilly.
Shaun Bowler is Professor of Political Science, University of California, Riverside. Bernard Grofman is Professor of Political Science, University of California, Irvine.
Droop 1881 — Henry R Droop: On Methods of Electing Representatives. Journal of the Statistical Society of London, Vol 4 No 2 (1881)
Henry Droop’s proposal for the Droop quota for STV.
ERS 1997 — Robert A Newland & Frank S Britton: How to conduct an election by the Single Transferable Vote. Electoral Reform Society (1997)
“In this publication we have sought to provide a comprehensive handbook for anyone conducting an election. At the same time, we have given an explanation of the purpose, operation and effect of the Single Transferable Vote, which we hope will be of value to those who may have to advise or decide on improvements in election procedures in any organisation, large or small.
“We hope also that this account of how the Single Transferable Vote operates (with minor variations) in public and other elections in the British Isles and elsewhere will be of interest both to the political commentator and to the politically aware citizen”
from the preface
ERS 2008 — Electoral Reform Society: PR Myths: The facts and the fiction on Proportional Representation. Electoral Reform Society (2008)
The facts and the fiction on Proportional Representation. Preface by Vernon Bogdanor, Professor of Government, Oxford University.
Farrell 1995 — David M Farrell: The Australian Electoral System: Origins, Variations and Consequences. University of New South Wales Press (2005)
Thomas Hare’s early proposal for STV.
Hare 1860 — Thomas Hare: On the Application of a New Statistical Method to the Ascertainment of the Votes of Majorities in a More Exhaustive Manner. Journal of the Statistical Society of London, Vol 23 No 3 (1860)
“The Australian Electoral System provides the first-ever comprehensive study of the design of Australian electoral systems. It focuses on the two electoral systems, both ‘preferential’, that are most closely associated with Australia: namely the alternative vote and the single transferable vote.
“The book covers four main themes. First, it traces the origins of Australia’s electoral systems, explaining how and why Australia ended up with such a relatively unique arrangement. Second, it explores the range of variation in the detail of how the various schemes operate–variations which can have significant behavioral and electoral consequences. Third, it uses aggregate and survey data to systematically analyse the consequences of electoral system design. Fourth, it examines voter reaction to these systems, both in Australia and also cross-nationally.”
Hart 1992 — Jenifer Hart: Proportional Representation: Critics of the British Electoral System 1820–1945. Clarendon Press, Oxford (1992)
From the publisher:
Offering the first scholarly history of the proportional representation movement, Hart explores its origins in the early nineteenth century and analyzes the contribution of major political thinkers such as Thomas Hare and John Stuart Mill. She traces the history of the early campaigns and the progress and vicissitudes of the cause through the twentieth century. Based on extensive research, this is an accessible and comprehensive study which throws light on many of the questions which bedevil contemporary political commentators. Hart demonstrates the inadequacy of the commonly made identification of proportional representation with liberalism, and explains the failure of its supporters to achieve its adoption in the U.K., with the exception of Northern Ireland.
Hoag & Hallett 1926 — Clarence Hoag & George Hallett: Proportional Representation. The Macmillan Company, New York (1926)
From the preface: “This book is intended to fill the need for an authoritative, up-to-date, and reasonable complete treatment of proportional representation and its bearing on the solution of the practical problems of government in a democracy.”
IDEA 2005 — International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance: Electoral System Design: the New International IDEA Handbook. International IDEA (2005)
From the IDEA website:
The choice of electoral system is one of the most important institutional decisions for any democracy. In almost all cases the choice of a particular electoral system has a profound effect on the future political life of the country concerned, and electoral systems, once chosen, often remain fairly constant as political interests solidify around and respond to the incentives presented by them. The choices that are made may have consequences that were unforeseen as well as predicted effects.
Electoral system choice is a fundamentally political process, rather than a question to which independent technical experts can produce a single ‘correct answer’. The consideration of political advantage is almost always a factor in the choice of electoral systems. Calculations of short-term political interest can often obscure the longer-term consequences of a particular electoral system.
The choice of electoral system can have a significant impact on the wider political and institutional framework: it is important not to see electoral systems in isolation. Their design and effects are heavily contingent upon other structures within and outside the constitution. Successful electoral system design comes from looking at the framework of political institutions as a whole: changing one part of this framework is likely to cause adjustments in the way other institutions within it work.
Electoral systems are today viewed as one of the most influential of all political institutions, and of crucial importance to broader issues of governance. For example, it is increasingly being recognized that an electoral system can be designed both to provide local geographic representation and to promote proportionality; can promote the development of strong and viable national political parties, and ensure the representation of women and regional minorities; and can help to ‘engineer’ cooperation and accommodation in a divided society by the creative use of particular incentives and constraints.
James 1896 — Edmund J James: An Early Essay on Proportional Representation. Sage Publications in association with the American Academy of Political and Social Science, via JSTOR (1896)
James documents, and includes, Thomas Gilpin’s 1844 paper proposing a party-list system for the Philadelphia PA city council.
Kolesar 1996 — Robert J Kolesar: Communism, Race, and the Defeat of Proportional Representation in Cold War America. Presented at New England Historical Association Conference (1996)
Robert J. Kolesar
History Department, John Carroll University
University Heights, Ohio 44118
Presented at New England Historical Association Conference
Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts, April 20, 1996
Lakeman 1970 — Enid Lakeman: How Democracies Vote: A Study of Majority and Proportional Electoral Systems. Faber & Faber, London, 3rd Edition (1970)
In 1955 [Lakeman] wrote, with James Lambert, Voting in Democracies, a detailed comparative study of electoral systems in different countries. It went through several revisions and the latest, with Enid Lakeman as sole author, was published in 1974 under the new title How Democracies Vote. This book continues to be a standard reference work on electoral systems.
(Note that the publication date is variously given as 1970 or 1974.)
Meek 1969 — Brian L Meek: A New Approach to the Single Transferable Vote: Paper I: Equality of Treatment of voters and a feedback mechanism for vote count. Voting matters (1969)
Brian Meek’s description (part 1) of Meek’s method for STV.
Meek 1970 — Brian L Meek: A New Approach to the Single Transferable Vote: Paper II: The problem of non-transferable votes. Voting matters (1970)
Brian Meek’s description (part 2) of Meek’s method for STV.
Mill 1861 — John Stuart Mill: Considerations on Representative Government. Everyman Library, London, 1993 (1861)
This classic work on democracy and representative government is available in various editions as well as online. See in particular Chapter 7, “Of True and False Democracy; Representation of All, and Representation of the Majority Only,” for a discussion of proportional representation generally and STV in particular (the URL above links to this chapter).
Tideman 1996 — Nicolaus Tideman: Collective Decisions And Voting: The Potential for Public Choice . Ashgate Publishing, UK (1996)
“When one thinks about how collective decisions are made, voting is the method that comes naturally to mind. But other methods such as random process and consensus are also used. This book explores just what a collective decision is, classifies the methods of making collective decisions, and identifies the advantages and disadvantages of each method. Classification is the prelude to evaluation. What are the characteristics of a method of making collective decisions, the book asks, that permit us to describe a collective decision as good?
“The second part of the book is detailed exploration of voting: the dimensions in which voting situations differ, the origins and logic of majority rule, the frequency of cycles in voting, the Arrow and Gibbard-Satterthwaite theorems, criteria for ways of cutting through cycles and the application of these criteria to a variety of rules, voting over continuums, proportional representation, and voting rules that take account of intensities of preferences. Relatively unknown methods of voting give voting a much greater potential than is generally recognized.
“Collective Decisions and Voting is essential reading for everyone with an interest in voting theory and in how public choices might be made.”
Voting matters — journal: Voting matters. McDougall Trust (2009)
“To advance the understanding of preferential voting systems”