UPDATE: Antonio has some extremely kind words in the comments! In his last paragraph, he refers to five grandes maestros of contemporary political science: Lijphart, Taagepera, Linz, Grofman, and Sartori. Indeed, he has named those whom I consider to be my principal role models among senior scholars I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with, as their student or colleague (and I would also add Bing Powell and the late Harry Eckstein). Since my grad school days or shortly thereafter, each of these men was a role model not only for his remarkable, foundational academic achievements, but also for guidance graciously offered in the formative years of my academic experience.
Sure, some aspects of blogging are vanity, no doubt: the chance to do things I love to do (write and profess) and be read by people other than the readers of political-science journals (a narrow readership if there ever was one) or my students (who have little choice in such matters). Then there is the public service aspect: Someone may learn about a newly available fruit variety or growing technique, or maybe even understand electoral systems better from one of my posts. But there is a very direct individual benefit, too. Sometimes a reader points me to something in the academic literature that I might otherwise have missed. From Antonio’s comment to a remark I made in the Brazil presidential election thread about methods of electing presidents under different configurations of presidential power:
regarding your comments whether the majority runoff system is best for premier-presidential systems, but the logic for plurality (or qualified plurality, DCRâ€¦) is stronger the stronger the presidency a recent work by Heather Stoll argues that the greater the power of president (â€œthe power of prizeâ€) the more electoral coordination we will find both within electoral districts and aggregating accross them. In a more recent paper also Allen Hicken (your disciple?) suggest a non-linear relationship between the powers of the president and the number of presidential candidates. Increasing presidential powers is associated with fewer presidential candidates over a moderate range of presidential power. However, where presidents are extremely weak or extremely powerful increasing presidential power actually produces a larger number of candidates. Hicken demonstrates that the substantive effect of presidential powers on the effective number of candidates is more than twice as large as the effect of the electoral formula (plurality, majority run-offâ€¦).
Nifty. And thanks, Antonio!
This experience is a twist on the “blogging and academia” theme that I first noted back when this orchard was newly planted.