Decent Essays

Carey et. al’s "Report from the Field: Two Surveys of Political Scientists.": Alarming results Carey et al’s “Report,” alarmed me for two reasons: the lack of importance attached to women’s representation by the American Political Science Association’s members and the lack of country knowledge or experience of the electoral reform consultants. The first, I will rationalize out as realistic, even if I disagree at a fundamental level; and the second, I will criticize as a problem that should be addressed by future electoral reform consultants. Figure 7.1 illustrates women’s representation as APSA members’ second least priority goal “associated with the rules to elect legislators” (62-3). Yet, minority group representation is a more valued …show more content…

Figure 7.4 shows that 30% of the electoral reform consultants considered their prior knowledge about the country they consulted with to be minimal (68). While the authors question the qualifications of these consultants to “offer advice on electoral system design”, they then reveal that the consultants were, in many cases, “not asked to offer specific proposals” (68). However, later in the paper, the authors show in Figure 7.7 that nearly 50% of consultants endorse specific reforms (70). Although the authors do not analyze the potential crossover from the 30% with minimal country knowledge and the almost 50% who endorse specific reforms, it is likely that a good number of these consultants giving recommendations for societies and countries they know very little about. This is incredibly alarming considering that local political actors are “inclined to draw on the content provided by academic consultants selectively, when that content could be used to bolster positions motivated by other factors” (72). Therefore, consultants cannot rely on local political actors to take the academic knowledge and apply to their own context in an unbiased manner. So, when consultants give recommendations without understanding the context, these recommendations could be used by individuals to bolster the faulty argument they are making for an electoral system that would best

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