Awards - APSA-IPSA Theodore J. Lowi First Book Award

Theodore J LowiThe Theodore J. Lowi First Book Award has been established to honor Lowi’s distinctive contributions to the study of politics. Throughout a prolific and influential career, Lowi developed new understandings of the relationship of public policy to politics, the influence of institutional arrangements to the exercise of power, the role of ideology in the development of political parties, the relationship of democracy to law, the relevance of concept analysis for theory building, and more.

The Lowi Award recognizes the author of a first book in any field of political science that exemplifies qualities of broad ambition, high originality, and intellectual daring, showing promise of having a substantive impact on the overall discipline, regardless of method, specific focus of inquiry or approach to subject. The award carries a cash prize of US$750.00.

APSA and IPSA will administer and fund the Lowi Award in alternating years. The 2020 Lowi Award will be awarded at the 26th IPSA World Congress of Political Science. APSA will award it at the 2021 APSA Annual Meeting.

Guidelines for Nomination

Nominations should be submitted electronically using APSA's form at

The nomination deadline : 13 December 2020

The 2020 prize recognizes books published in the previous calendar year (2019). Books should be single-author works to be eligible for the Lowi Award.

Nominators are responsible for shipping or sending books to the award committee after submitting a nomination. Shipping information for award committee members is available below. All books being shipped should be postmarked by no later than 13 December 2020 in order to be considered.

For questions about the Lowi Award, please contact

APSA-IPSA Theodore J. Lowi First Book Award Recipients

2021 - Simukai Chigudu

Simukai Chigudu is Associate Professor of African Politics at the Oxford Department of International Development and Fellow of St Antony’s College, University of Oxford. He is interested in the politics of health in Africa and the global politics of racism and decolonization. He has conducted research in Zimbabwe, Uganda, The Gambia, and Tanzania, and has publications in several leading social science and medical journals. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Oxford for which he won the Audrey Richards Prize, a biennial award from the African Studies Association for the best Ph.D. thesis on Africa examined at a UK university. Before coming into academia, he worked as a medical doctor.

His first book, The Political Life of an Epidemic: Cholera, Crisis and Citizenship in Zimbabwe (Cambridge University Press, 2020), examines the social and political causes and consequences of Zimbabwe’s catastrophic cholera outbreak in 2008/09, the worst in African history. The book is a devastating account of an epidemic and a meditation on the political economy of state transformation in Africa, the shortcomings of international humanitarian aid, and the struggles for substantive citizenship in Zimbabwe.

2020 - Rachel Augustine Potter

Rachel Augustine Potter is an Assistant Professor of Politics.  Her research interests include American political institutions, regulation, public policy, public administration, and the influence of separation of powers on bureaucratic decision-making.

Her first book, Bending the Rules: Procedural Politicking in the Bureaucracy (University of Chicago Press 2019), explores how unelected bureaucrats leverage procedures in order to exercise influence in the policymaking process of the Congress, the president and the courts. She represents a very innovative argument about bureaucratic discretion. The empirical findings of this book draw from multiple methodologies and accumulated cross-field research. The book illuminates in an excellent way our understanding of how government policy decisions are made by public agencies.

2019 - Stephanie J. Rickard

Stephanie J. Rickard is a Professor of Political Science at the London School of Economics in the Department of Government. She earned her PhD at the University of California, San Diego and her BA at the University of Rochester. Her research examines the effects of political institutions on economic policies and appears in journals such as International OrganizationThe Journal of PoliticsBritish Journal of Political Science, and Comparative Political Studies.

In her book, Spending to Win: Political Institutions, Economic Geography, and Government Subsidies, published by Cambridge University Press, Stephanie investigates why governments selectively target economic benefits, like subsidies, to businesses. Based on interviews with government ministers and bureaucrats, as well as parliamentary records, industry publications, local media coverage, and new quantitative data, Stephanie demonstrates that economic policy can be explained by the combination of electoral institutions and economic geography.

2018 - Margaret Peters

Dr. Peters is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at UCLA.  Her research focuses broadly on international political economy with a special focus on the politics of migration.  Prior to coming to UCLA, she was an Assistant Professor in the Political Science department at Yale University and at the  University of Wisconsin-Madison. She earned her Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2011. Her work has appeared in International Organization and World Politics, among others.

Dr. Peter’s book, Trading Barriers: Immigration and the Remaking of Globalization, examines the relationship between trade policy, outsourcing, and immigration policy, demonstrating the important and influential role played by international trade and capital movements in shaping public policies toward immigration. An exhaustively researched and original analysis, with broad international policy implications, that illuminates our understanding of the relationship between trade liberalization and immigration policies.

2017 - Dara Kay Cohen

Dara Kay Cohen is an associate professor of public policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Her research and teaching interests span the field of international relations, including international security, civil war and the dynamics of violence, and gender and conflict.

Her first book, Rape During Civil War (Cornell University Press, 2016), examines the variation in the use of rape during recent civil conflicts; the research for the book draws on extensive fieldwork in Sierra Leone, Timor-Leste and El Salvador. Her current project is focused on the intersection of political violence, public opinion and gender in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

2016 - Jennifer C. Rubenstein

Jennifer C. Rubenstein is an associate professor of politics at the University of Virginia, specializing in political theory. Her interests include the political ethics of non-governmental organizations, humanitarianism, democratic theory (especially theories of non-electoral representation and advocacy that attend to global inequalities), emergencies, the politics of donating, and the role of imagination and experience in politics. She has published or forthcoming articles in the Journal of Politics, Journal of Political Philosophy, Journal of Social Philosophy, Journal of Social Philosophy and Policy, and the British Journal of Political Science.

The Award Committee was unanimous in its decision to award the Theodore J. Lowi  ‘First Book Award’ for 2016 to Dr. Rubenstein for her book Between Samaritans and States: The Political Ethics of Humanitarian INGOs, published by Oxford University Press, 2015.