Academic Year 2012-2013
Bernard Grofman, a 1972 Ph.D. in political science, whose research deals with empirical democratic theory, representation and constitutional design, has been at the University of California, Irvine since 1976. He is currently the Jack W. Peltason Endowed Chair and Director of the Center for the Study of Democracy. He is co-author of 4 Cambridge University Press books, a co-editor of 21 other books; with over 250 research articles and book chapters. He is a past President of the Public Choice Society, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; in 2010 he received an Honorary Doctorate in Political Science from the University of Copenhagen. Further information on Professor Grofman can be found here.
Evaluating 2011-12 Congressional Redistricting in the Western States
The focus of my research will be on the structure of electoral representation, especially the electoral rules by which representatives are to be elected and the boundary drawing process for the districts from which representatives will be chosen. My work will deal with two interrelated broad themes: How can we increase the responsiveness and accountability of representatives to those they represent? How can we assure that all points of views, including those of members of minority communities (e.g., racial, linguistic, and religious communities) are fairly reflected, both at the dyadic level- where we would look at the relationship between a given legislator and those in his or her constituency- and for the legislature as a whole. More specifically, with respect to the U.S., I expect to look at the nature of and the consequences of public participation in the design of legislative and congressional district boundaries in the 2012 redistricting round, and also to compare the consequences for fair and effective representation of different mechanisms that have been used to accomplish decennial districting in the U.S.- ranging from incumbent legislators themselves drawing the new boundaries under which they may seek to run for reelection, to bipartisan redistricting commissions of various forms, to court-drawn plans. I also hope to extend the scope of my research outside the U.S. to examine potential mechanisms to ameliorate ethnic distrust and ethnic conflict in areas where there has been recurrent failure to establish democracy, including how the structure of political party competition acts to retard or exacerbate ethnic divisions.