Thad Dunning Wins International Book Prize Named for Gaddis Smith

Thad Dunning, associate professor of political science, has been awarded the 2009 Gaddis Smith International Book Prize by the MacMillan Center for his book “Crude Democracy: Natural Resource Wealth and Political Regimes.”

The Gaddis Smith Book Prize was established by the MacMillan Center in 2005 and is given each year for the best first book by a member of the Yale ladder faculty. Gaddis Smith, the Larned Professor Emeritus of history, is a former director of the MacMillan Center.

Award recipients receive a research appointment at the MacMillan Center and a $10,000 research award over two years.

Using game-theoretic tools and statistical modeling as well as detailed country case studies, and drawing on fieldwork in Latin America and Africa, “Crude Democracy” builds and tests a theory that explains political variation across resource-rich states.

According to the judging panel, “Crude Democracy” was chosen because of “its innovative treatment of a major issue of contemporary relevance, its clear writing and its ambitious transnational scope. It compellingly challenges conventional political science assumptions that natural resource wealth and political democracy are antithetical, and it does so by a well-informed comparative analysis that ranges from Venezuela to Chile, and from Bolivia to Ecuador to Botswana. The author also makes careful use of a variety of analytic approaches.”

“Crude Democracy” was published by Cambridge University Press in 2008.

Previous Gaddis Smith International Book Prize winners include Maurice Samuels for “The Spectacular Past: Popular History and the Novel in the 19th-Century France” (2007); Julia Adams for “The Familial State: Ruling Families and Merchant Capitalism in Early Modern Europe” (2006); and Mridu Rai for “Hindu Rulers, Muslim Subjects: Islam, Rights and the History of Kashmir” (2005).

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