Arend Lijphart

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Arend d'Angremond Lijphart
Born (1936-08-17) 17 August 1936 (age 84)
Apeldoorn, Netherlands
NationalityDutch, American (dual)
Alma materPrincipia College, Yale University
Known forPatterns of Democracy
Scientific career
FieldsPolitical science
InstitutionsUniversity of California, San Diego

Arend d'Angremond Lijphart (born 17 August 1936, Apeldoorn, Netherlands) is a political scientist specializing in comparative politics, elections and voting systems, democratic institutions, and ethnicity and politics. He received his PhD in Political Science at Yale University in 1963, after studying at Principia College from 1955 to 1958. He is currently Research Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of California, San Diego. Dutch by birth, he has spent most of his working life in the United States and became an American citizen. He has since regained his Dutch citizenship and is now a dual citizen of both the Netherlands and the United States.

Major works[edit]

Lijphart is the leading authority on consociationalism, or the ways in which segmented societies manage to sustain democracy through power-sharing. Lijphart developed this concept in his first major work, The Politics of Accommodation, a study of the Dutch political system, 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 as appropriate for any society with a consensual political culture.[1] 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, rigid constitutions protected by judicial review, and independent central banks. 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, 2nd ed., 2012), 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, more foreign aid work, and more welfare spending – qualities he feels "should appeal to all democrats".[2] He also finds that consensus democracies have a less abrasive political culture, more functional business-like proceedings, and a results-oriented ethic. The 2012 edition included data up to 2010 and found proportional representation (PR) was vastly superior for the "quality of democracy", being statistically significantly better for 19 of 19 indicators. On the issue of “effective government” 16 out of 17 indicators pointed to PR as superior, with 9 out of 17 statistically significant. These results held up when controlling for the level of development and population size.

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.[3]


In 1989, Lijphart was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and from 1995 to 1996 served as President of the American Political Science Association.[4] In 1993 he became foreign member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.[5] He was awarded the prestigious Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science in 1997.[6]



  • The Trauma of Decolonization: The Dutch & West New Guinea. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1966.
  • The Politics of Accommodation. Pluralism and Democracy in the Netherlands, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1968.
  • Democracy in Plural Societies: A Comparative Exploration. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977. ISBN 978-0-300-02494-4.
  • Democracies: Patterns of Majoritarian & Consensus Government in Twenty-one Countries. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984. ISBN 978-0-300-03182-9.
  • Power-Sharing in South Africa. Berkeley: Institute of International Studies, University of California, 1985. ISBN 978-0-87725-524-6.
  • Grofman, Bernard, and Lijphart, Arend (eds.). Electoral Laws & Their Political Consequences. New York: Agathon Press, 1986. ISBN 978-0-87586-074-9.
  • Electoral Systems and Party Systems: A Study of Twenty-Seven Democracies, 1945–1990. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994. ISBN 978-0-19-828054-5.
  • Lijphart, Arend, and Waisman, Carlos H. (eds.). Institutional Design in New Democracies. Boulder: Westview, 1996. ISBN 978-0-8133-2109-7.
  • Patterns of Democracy: Government Forms & Performance in Thirty-six Countries. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999. ISBN 978-0-300-07893-0
  • Patterns of Democracy: Government Forms & Performance in Thirty-six Countries, Second Edition. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012. ISBN 978-0-300-17202-7
  • Grofman, Bernard and Lijphart, Arend (eds.). The Evolution of Electoral & Party Systems in the Nordic Countries. New York: Agathon Press. ISBN 978-0-87586-138-8.

Journal articles[edit]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ Lijphart, Arend (1999). Patterns of Democracy: Government Forms and Performance in Thirty-Six Countries. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-07893-0.
  2. ^ Lijphart, Arend (1999). Patterns of Democracy: Government Forms and Performance in Thirty-Six Countries. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. p. 293. ISBN 978-0-300-07893-0.
  3. ^ Lijphart, Arend (1971). "Comparative politics and the comparative method". American Political Science Review. 65 (3): 682–693. doi:10.2307/1955513. JSTOR 1955513. S2CID 55713809.
  4. ^ "Arend Lijphart". Department of Political Science, University of California at San Diego. Archived from the original on 16 May 2008. Retrieved 22 August 2008.
  5. ^ "Arend Lijphart". Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  6. ^ "Johan Skytte Prize winners". Skytte Foundation, Uppsala University. Archived from the original on 21 October 2008. Retrieved 23 August 2008.

External links[edit]