PODCAST: Patterns of Democracy
PODCAST: Patterns of Democracy



With Arend Lijphart I discuss some of the fundamental questions regarding democratic institutions based on his seminal book “Patterns of Democracy: Government Forms and Performance in Thirty-Six Countries”, that he first published in 1999 and then updated in 2012.

The book contrasts majoritarian and consensus models of democracy. It teaches a lot about democratic institutions and it greatly increased my own knowledge when I first read it during my studies. While the book has, of course, received some criticism, it remains a benchmark study of democracy.

We talk about the stability and functioning of different systems of government and proportional representation in divided societies. I also wanted to know from him whether his conclusions had changed since the first publication of the book in 1999, and we also touch upon recent political events that make consensus models of democracy appear to be the far better choice.

Arend Lijphart is Professor Emeritus at the Political Science Department of UC San Diego. He received his PhD from Yale University in 1963. Arend’s research focuses on comparative politics, elections and voting systems, institutions, ethnicity and politics, and he is a leading authority on consociationalism. He is the author and editor of more than a dozen books. He was elected to serve as president of the American Political Science Association in 1995-96. He has received numerous awards throughout his career, including the Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science, the Aaron Wildavsky Book Award, and three honorary doctorates.


  • Find the show notes with links to all material discussed here.

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