Political Science Now

Alisha Holland — 2017 Heinz I. Eulau Award Recipient

The Heinz Eulau prize is awarded annually for the best article published in the American Political Science Review and for the best article published in Perspectives on Politics in the calendar year. It carries a prize of $750. Special thanks go to Cambridge University Press for support of the new prize given in 2005, recognizing scholarship in Perspectives on Politics.

In 2004, the APSA Council acted to incorporate the best paper published in Perspectives in Politics under the umbrella of the Heinz Eulau Award, as well as the best paper published in APSR. This action was taken to allow APSA to recognize articles in Perspectives on Politics in a way parallel with APSR, without transgressing a council moratorium on new awards. As we build up award endowment, we expect in the future that the two awards will be separated. To manage the effort involved in selecting best articles for two journals, APSA President Margaret Levi, in consultation with the Award Committee Chair, increased the number of appointees to the Eulau Committee from 3 to 5, and suggested that two members focus on APSR articles and two on Perspectives on Politics articles, with the chair acting as the swing participant and coordinating voice.

Alisha C. Holland is Assistant Professor in the Politics Department at Princeton University. She studies the comparative political economy of development with a focus on urban politics and Latin America. Her first book, Forbearance as Redistribution: The Politics of Informal Welfare in Latin America (Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics, 2017) examines the politics of enforcement of laws that the poor tend to violate, such as squatting, street vending, and electricity theft. Her other research interests include social policy, public works, migration, and crime control in Latin America.

Alisha C Holland makes a substantial contribution to comparative politics in her rigorous conceptual work on “Forbearance”, i.e. the voluntary and revocable non-enforcement of legislation, which is often quickly associated with state weakness (and the incapacity of the state to enforce the law) hides a diversity of situations but she argues that it is important to identify the intent of politicians and the implications of their decision not to enforce in order to assess when such a choice amounts to a covert distributive policy in a context where weak welfare provisions bear heavy consequences on the poor, contributing to their resorting to violating the law. The article is original in that it brings together a theoretical argument with a solid empirical demonstration, based on extensive primary research. The work was truly exceptional in that regard. The demonstration is rich and complex but nevertheless presented in a clear and elegant manner. The demonstration draws primarily from Latin American qualitative research but its applicability goes far beyond the area she focuses on, across all the subfields of political science. The article offers a significant contribution to the political science literature by demonstrating the crucial role of comparative analysis supported by thorough conceptual work and a detailed contextual analysis.

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