Why Cities Lose: The Deep Roots of the Urban-Rural Political Divide


Product Details

$30.00  $27.90
Basic Books
Publish Date
6.1 X 9.5 X 1.4 inches | 1.15 pounds

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About the Author

Jonathan A. Rodden is professor of political science and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and founder and director of the Stanford Spatial Social Science Lab. The author of the prizewinning Hamilton's Paradox, he lives in Stanford, California.


"This important book, which should reset our understanding of polarization in America and around the world, will comfort neither those on the left who see themselves as the vanguard of a victorious electoral future, nor those on the right who believe that voters are fundamentally conservative."--Andrew Gelman, author of Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State
"This astute and illuminating book will change how you think about electoral fairness and political representation in America. Why Cities Lose meticulously demonstrates how winner-take-all congressional districts systematically under-represent urban voters in legislatures and destructively polarize politics along urban-rural lines -- not just in the United States, but also in Canada and the United Kingdom. The result is distorted representation in all winner-take-all democracies, even those with independent redistricting processes. At time when politics in America feels so unfair, this book clarifies how much our skewed electoral system is to blame. For anyone who wants to fix America's broken politics, this is absolutely essential reading."--Lee Drutman, author of The Business of America is Lobbying
"Why Cities Lose is a towering achievement in understanding the structural roots of partisan polarization in America and the critical role played by economic and political geography. Jonathan A. Rodden employs sophisticated historical, comparative, and data visualization techniques to shed light on the fateful consequences for political representation and policy of single-member, first-past-the-post legislative districts. It is certain to enrich scholarly and public debates."--Thomas E. Mann, coauthor of It's Even Worse Than It Looks
"The biggest problem facing America today is political polarization: Democrats command the superstar cities and tech hubs that drive the knowledge economy, while Republicans have a stronghold in suburban places and rural areas. In this important book, Jonathan A. Rodden draws on a trove of data spanning the twentieth century to show us in painstaking detail why cities continue to lose out to rural and suburban interests and what challenges this poses for our democracy."--Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class and The New Urban Crisis
"Why Cities Lose is a masterful explanation for the main axis of conflict in contemporary US politics, the rural vs. urban divide. With exemplary scholarship and an eye to global trends as well as surprisingly important details such as the placement of railroads, Rodden gives us a thorough understanding of the central political conflicts of our time."--Katherine J. Cramer, author of The Politics of Resentment