Political Science Now

Heinz I. Eulau Award Winners Announced!

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. Two Eulau Awards are made, one for each journal. Committee members are asked to help make the selection from one journal or the other, and the chair is asked to participate in both decisions.

The winners for the best article published in the American Political Science Review are Carles Boix and Frances Rosenbluth.

This work of historical political economy is innovative and path-breaking in the extreme. Boix and Rosenbluth are seeking some answers to the important questions on the origins of inequality, but doing so by examining the sweep of human history where such inquiry has been absent, largely due to data limitations—before the second world war.

The data employed are archaeological and ethnographic findings on human height, which the authors persuasively argue are an effective measure of resource access and distribution. Then using historical data on experiences as wide ranging as ancient Egypt and Greece, indigenous populations of North and Central America, medieval and modern Europe and 19th Century North America, the authors test the effects of economic institutions, agricultural production regimes and war-making technologies on the distribution of resources and nutrition.

The findings offered here, while limited by the scope and availability of data, illustrate the effects of economic, institutional and military factors on resource distribution. Moving from individualist economies of hunting/gathering and subsistence farming to those more likely to produce surplus, including economies-of-scale production farming, introduces substantially increased in equality and, by extension, height variation. Similarly, egalitarian societies with responsive and constrained political leadership, as different as Zuni Puebloan peoples and 19th C American Midwesterners, resulted in more equitable distributions of resources while hierarchical societies with strong aristocratic classes and extractive political leadership—such as pre-revolutionary France—produce substantial inequalities with resulting physical differences.

The committee found this paper to be a tour de force, not merely in its use of previously untapped data, its offer of a broad and ranging theoretical structure, and the use of design to isolate the relationships of interest, but also because the findings on political determinants of historical resource mal-distribution are sadly as relevant today.

The winners for the best article published in Perspectives on Politics are Zoltan L. Hajnal and Jeremy D. Horowitz.

Since the New Deal and especially since the 1964 Civil Rights Act, African Americans have given growing majorities of their votes to Democratic candidates.  Similarly, while President George W. Bush managed to secure as much as 40% of the Latino vote in his 2004 reelection campaign, in the most recent election, Latinos gave 71-73% of their votes to Democrats.  Finally, Asian Americans, who gave only 31% of their votes to Bill Clinton in 1992, voted 73% Democratic in 2012.

Republicans and Democrats have long argued about whether minority voters were getting their vote’s worth in terms of policy delivery for their Democratic candidates or, as the GOP and its leadership has suggested, they have been taken for granted and convinced to accept policies that constrain—rather than facilitate—minority social mobility and economic success.

Hajnal and Horowitz use critical measures of economic well-being to fill a gap in our knowledge about the link between government responsiveness, parties, and minority vote. Looking at median income, poverty rates and unemployment rates for African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans, these authors repeatedly find that Democrats have delivered for communities of color when compared with GOP administrations.  All three of the groups examined enjoy greater economic prosperity under Democratic presidents than Republicans.

Importantly, the authors do not suggest that communities of color do as well as the might have under Democratic administrations, only that they do better than they would under GOP leadership.  Second, whites do no worse under Democrats than Republicans and what evidence there is appears to suggest that they, too, do slightly better under Democratic administrations.

The committee found this work a perfect example of how political science can engage real-world circumstances to offer an evidence-based evaluation of the representativeness of our political system and the particular circumstances of racial and ethnic minorities.  As one member of the committee noted, as the nation inches toward a “majority-minority” status, this topic grows more important every day.

Award Committee:
Gary Segura, Stanford University, chair
Donald P. Haider-Markel, University of Kansas, Perspectives on Politics
Mara Sidney, Rutgers University, Newark, Perspectives on Politics
Nicole Mellow, Williams College, American Political Science Review
Margit Tavits, Washington University in St. Louis, American Political Science Review

Recipients: Zoltan L. Hajnal and Jeremy D. Horowitz
Title: “Racial Winners and Losers in American Party Politics,” Perspectives on Politics, 12 (1): 100-118

Recipients: Carles Boix and Frances Rosenbluth
Title: “Bones of Contention: The Political Economy of Height Inequality.” 108(1): 1-22