Douglas W. Rae

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Douglas Whiting Rae (born 1939) is Richard Ely Professor of Management and Political Science at Yale University. He is a graduate of Indiana University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where his Ph.D. adviser was Austin Ranney. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a former Guggenheim fellow, a former Fellow of Stanford University's Institute for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, a winner of the Hallett Prize and the Hurfurth Prize, he served as Chief Administrative Officer of the City of New Haven, Connecticut in 1990–1991. He has contributed to the BBC, The New Republic, and the New York Times.

Rae has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, was a fellow of Stanford’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, a fellow of the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study, and has received numerous honors and prizes for his research. He has consulted widely and variously to the parliaments of Spain, Italy, & the Netherlands Antilles, select corporate leaders, to numerous American cities and universities, and to the BBC.[1]

Significance of "The Political Consequences of Electoral Laws"[edit]

Perhaps his most seminal work, "The Political Consequences of Electoral Laws" (1967, 2nd ed. 1971), was the first systematic comparative analysis of electoral systems, applying the mathematical tools of social science to past elections in the Western industrialized world to determine the effects of electoral laws on election results, in particular on proportionality i.e. the correspondences between parties' vote shares and seat shares, and the number of parties in a given country. While the book has become dated by the explosion in electoral studies that occurred across the world more than a decade later, much of his terminology and guiding criteria e.g. his three basic dimensions of electoral systems (1) electoral formula (the mathematical method for translating votes into seats), (2) district magnitude (the number of members to be elected in a district), and (3) ballot structure (the way in which electoral choices are presented on the ballot), remain standard. It is generally regarded as the most important work on voting systems since Maurice Duverger's "Political Parties" (1951, trans. 1954).

Significance of "Equalities"[edit]

Rae's other highly influential book is "Equalities", published in 1981. A noteworthy work on equality theory, "Equalities" compares and contrasts the ideas of a number of political theorists, including Immanuel Kant, Robert Nozick, John Rawls, and Vilfredo Pareto. His "City:Urbanism and its End" published in 2003 is a history of New Haven, Connecticut and puts forth an account of urbanism for American cities.


  1. ^ "biography". Retrieved 26 January 2014.