Kenneth McElwain

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Kenneth McElwain

Assistant Professor

Office Location(s): 7725 Haven Hall
734.615.5685
kmcelwai@umich.edu
View Curriculum Vitae

  • Affiliation(s)
    • Center for Japanese Studies
  • Fields of Study
    • Comparative Politics
    • Political Economy
    • Institutional Design
  • About

    Professor McElwain studies the comparative politics of institutional design, particularly in Japan and other advanced industrialized democracies. His current book manuscript examines how partisan incentives influence the initial selection and subsequent manipulation of electoral systems, and how these choices can help unpopular governments to stay in power. Other research topics include the organizational principles of political parties and the procedural complexity of constitutional amendments. His work is motivated by a general interest in asymmetrical party systems: legislatures where one large party coexists with multiple small parties. These cases represent idiosyncrasies in “normal” forms of party competition and have distinctive patterns of government composition, policy, and longevity.

    Professor McElwain joined the political science faculty at Michigan in Fall 2008, following post-doctoral appointments at Stanford and Harvard. He was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. 

  • Education
    • Stanford University, Ph.D. (Political Science)
    • Princeton University, A.B.
  • Courses Taught
    • Comparative Politics Field Seminar (graduate)
    • The Manipulation of Electoral Systems (graduate and undergraduate)
    • Japanese Politics and Political Economy (graduate and undergraduate)