Arend Lijphart
Arend d'Angremond Lijphart (born 17 August 1936, Apeldoorn
Apeldoorn is a municipality and city in the province of Gelderland, about 60 miles south east of Amsterdam, in the centre of the Netherlands. It is a regional centre and has 155,000 . The municipality of Apeldoorn, including villages like Beekbergen, Loenen and Hoenderloo, has over 155,000...

, Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

) is a world renowned political scientist specializing in comparative politics
Comparative politics
Comparative politics is a subfield of political science, characterized by an empirical approach based on the comparative method. Arend Lijphart argues that comparative politics does not have a substantive focus in itself, but rather a methodological one: it focuses on "the how but does not specify...

, election
An election is a formal decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual to hold public office. Elections have been the usual mechanism by which modern representative democracy operates since the 17th century. Elections may fill offices in the legislature, sometimes in the...

s and voting system
Voting system
A voting system or electoral system is a method by which voters make a choice between options, often in an election or on a policy referendum....

s, democratic institution
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

s, and ethnicity and politics
Politics is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions. The term is generally applied to the art or science of running governmental or state affairs, including behavior within civil governments, but also applies to institutions, fields, and special interest groups such as the...

. He received his PhD
Doctor of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy, abbreviated as Ph.D., PhD, D.Phil., or DPhil , in English-speaking countries, is a postgraduate academic degree awarded by universities...

 in Political Science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

 at Yale University
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

 in 1963, after studying at the University of Leiden from 1958 to 1962. He is currently Research Professor Emeritus of Political Science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

 at the University of California, San Diego
University of California, San Diego
The University of California, San Diego, commonly known as UCSD or UC San Diego, is a public research university located in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego, California, United States...

. Dutch
Dutch people
The Dutch people are an ethnic group native to the Netherlands. They share a common culture and speak the Dutch language. Dutch people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in Suriname, Chile, Brazil, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and the United...

 by birth, he has spent most of his working life in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and is an American citizen. He has since regained his Dutch citizenship and is now a dual citizen
Multiple citizenship
Multiple citizenship is a status in which a person is concurrently regarded as a citizen under the laws of more than one state. Multiple citizenships exist because different countries use different, and not necessarily mutually exclusive, citizenship requirements...

 of both the Netherlands and the United States.

Major works

Lijphart is the leading authority on consociationalism
Consociationalism is a form of government involving guaranteed group representation, and is often suggested for managing conflict in deeply divided societies...

, or the ways in which segmented societies manage to sustain democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

 through power-sharing. Lijphart developed this concept in his first major work, The Politics of Accommodation, a study of the Dutch political system
Politics of the Netherlands
The politics of the Netherlands take place within the framework of a parliamentary representative democracy, a constitutional monarchy and a decentralised unitary state. The Netherlands is described as a consociational state...

, and further developed his arguments in Democracy in Plural Societies.

His later work has focused on the broader contrasts between majoritarian and "consensus" democracies. While Lijphart advocated consociationalism primarily for societies deeply divided along ethnic, religious, ideological, or other cleavages, he sees consensus democracy
Consensus democracy
Consensus democracy is the application of consensus decision-making to the process of legislation in a democracy. It is characterised by a decision-making structure which involves and takes into account as broad a range of opinions as possible, as opposed to systems where minority opinions can...

 as appropriate for any society. In contrast to majoritarian democracies, consensus democracies have multiparty systems, parliamentarism with oversized (and therefore inclusive) cabinet coalitions, proportional electoral systems, corporatist (hierarchical) interest group structures, federal structures, bicameralism
In the government, bicameralism is the practice of having two legislative or parliamentary chambers. Thus, a bicameral parliament or bicameral legislature is a legislature which consists of two chambers or houses....

, rigid constitutions protected by judicial review
Judicial review
Judicial review is the doctrine under which legislative and executive actions are subject to review by the judiciary. Specific courts with judicial review power must annul the acts of the state when it finds them incompatible with a higher authority...

, and independent central bank
Central bank
A central bank, reserve bank, or monetary authority is a public institution that usually issues the currency, regulates the money supply, and controls the interest rates in a country. Central banks often also oversee the commercial banking system of their respective countries...

s. These institutions ensure, firstly, that only a broad supermajority can control policy and, secondly, that once a coalition takes power, its ability to infringe on minority rights is limited.

In Patterns of Democracy (1999), Lijphart classifies thirty-six democracies using these attributes. He finds consensus democracies to be "kinder, gentler" states, having lower incarceration rates, less use of the death penalty, better care for the environment
Environment (biophysical)
The biophysical environment is the combined modeling of the physical environment and the biological life forms within the environment, and includes all variables, parameters as well as conditions and modes inside the Earth's biosphere. The biophysical environment can be divided into two categories:...

, more foreign aid work, and more welfare spending — qualities he feels "should appeal to all democrats". He also finds that consensus democracies have a less abrasive political culture
Political culture
Political culture is the traditional orientation of the citizens of a nation toward politics, affecting their perceptions of political legitimacy.Conceptions...

, more functional business-like proceedings, and a results-oriented ethic.

Lijphart has also made influential contributions to methodological debates within comparative politics, most notably through his 1971 article 'Comparative politics and the comparative method', published in the American Political Science Review
American Political Science Review
The American Political Science Review is the flagship publication of the American Political Science Association and is the most prestigious journal in political science according to the ISI 2004 Journal Citation Report...



In 1989, Lijphart was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. The Academy’s elected members are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs.James Bowdoin, John Adams, and...

 and from 1995-1996 served as President
A president is a leader of an organization, company, trade union, university, or country.Etymologically, a president is one who presides, who sits in leadership...

 of the American Political Science Association
American Political Science Association
The American Political Science Association is a professional association of political science students and scholars in the United States. Founded in 1903, it publishes three academic journals...

. He was awarded the prestigious Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science
Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science
The Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science was established in 1995 by the Johan Skytte Foundation at Uppsala University. The foundation itself goes back to the donation in 1622 from Johan Skytte , politician and chancellor of the university, which established the Skyttean professorship of...

 in 1997.


  • The Trauma of Decolonization: The Dutch & West New Guinea. New Haven: Yale University Press
    Yale University Press
    Yale University Press is a book publisher founded in 1908 by George Parmly Day. It became an official department of Yale University in 1961, but remains financially and operationally autonomous....

    , 1966.
  • The Politics of Accommodation. Pluralism and Democracy in the Netherlands, Berkeley: University of California Press
    University of California Press
    University of California Press, also known as UC Press, is a publishing house associated with the University of California that engages in academic publishing. It was founded in 1893 to publish books and papers for the faculty of the University of California, established 25 years earlier in 1868...

    , 1968.
  • Democracy in Plural Societies: A Comparative Exploration. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977. ISBN 0-300-02494-0.
  • Democracies: Patterns of Majoritarian & Consensus Government in Twenty-one Countries. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984. ISBN 0-300-03182-3.
  • Power-Sharing in South Africa. Berkeley: Institute of International Studies, University of California, 1985. ISBN 0-87725-524-5.
  • Grofman, Bernard, and Lijphart, Arend (eds.). Electoral Laws & Their Political Consequences. New York: Agathon Press, 1986. ISBN 0-87586-074-5.
  • Electoral Systems and Party Systems: A Study of Twenty-Seven Democracies, 1945-1990. Oxford: Oxford University Press
    Oxford University Press
    Oxford University Press is the largest university press in the world. It is a department of the University of Oxford and is governed by a group of 15 academics appointed by the Vice-Chancellor known as the Delegates of the Press. They are headed by the Secretary to the Delegates, who serves as...

    , 1994. ISBN 0-19-828054-8.
  • Lijphart, Arend, and Waisman, Carlos H. (eds.). Institutional Design in New Democracies. Boulder: Westview, 1996. ISBN 0-8133-2109-3.
  • Patterns of Democracy: Government Forms & Performance in Thirty-six Countries. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999. ISBN 0-300-07893-5
  • Grofman, Bernard and Lijphart, Arend (eds.). The Evolution of Electoral & Party Systems in the Nordic Countries. New York: Agathon Press. ISBN 0-87586-138-5.

External links

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