Jake Grumbach Receives APSA’s 2023 Best Book Award

Adapted from the Consortium on the American Political Economy’s website.

Congratulations to Jacob (Jake) Grumbach on receiving the 2023 Merze Tate – Elinor Ostrom Outstanding Book Award for Laboratories against Democracy: How National Parties Transformed State Politics.

The APSA Best Book Award is awarded annually to honor the best new book book on government, politics, or international affairs.

Citation from the Award Committee:

In Laboratories against Democracy: How National Parties Transformed State Politics, Jacob Grumbach makes a powerful contribution to our understanding of the role that federalism plays in shaping American democracy. Specifically, Grumbach finds that as U.S. politics grew increasingly gridlocked at the national level, due to polarization and divided government, partisan and activist groups shifted policy-making efforts to state-level government. This resurgence of local governance generated wide subnational variation on a range of issues, including reproductive rights, healthcare, gun control, and the environment, among others. Grumbach’s book also details the ways that partisan and activist groups have used state-level government to suppress the vote, gerrymander congressional districts, and ultimately erode American democracy. The committee was impressed with Grumbach’s careful and thorough analysis, intellectual openness, and creativity. The book draws on insights generated from debates across methodological and historical lines, both recognizing and building on work from multiple subfields of political science. Furthermore, just as it is capacious in its disciplinary engagements, the book’s arguments and implications speak to numerous scholarly constituencies across the discipline, exploring the timely and pressing question of what explains democratic backsliding in the United States.

Jacob (Jake) Grumbach is an Associate Professor of Public Policy at UC Berkeley. Previously, he was an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Washington and a postdoc at the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics at Princeton. Grumbach studies the political economy of the United States, with a focus on democratic institutions, federalism, labor, and race. Outside of academia, Grumbach is a nerd for ’70s soul and ’90s hip-hop music and a fan of the Golden State Warriors.