Professor Isabela Mares presented with the William Riker book award

Professor Isabela Mares
September 10, 2020

Isabela Mares has been awarded the William Riker book award of the American Political Science Association for best book in Political Economy for Conditionality and Coercion (co-authored with Lauren Young, UC Davis).

“Conditionality and Coercion” is an inspiring piece of political science scholarship that innovatively combines theoretical sophistication with empirical rigor. The book compellingly argues that clientelistic practices cannot be divorced from programmatic policy positioning. Instead, politicians choose different clientelistic strategies depending on the policy signals they wish to send to the electorate.  Distinguishing between negative and positive inducements, the book excels at demonstrating how different modes of clientelism systematically vary across locations and voter groups.

In addition to fresh theoretical insights, the book contains a wealth of fascinating empirics. Set in Hungary and Romania and analyzing clientelistic exchanges across dozens of locations, hundreds of semi-structured interviews, and thousands of voters, Mares and Young’s research is an exemplary model of multi-method work. The authors’ extensive, on-the ground fieldwork and original quantitative analyses produce a remarkable and convincing account of clientelism in contemporary Eastern Europe. “Conditionality and Coercion” will be indispensable reading for anyone interested in clientelism, Eastern European politics and society, and threats to liberal democracy.

The Political Economy section of the American Political Science Association awards the William H. Riker Annual Prize annually in his honor.