Ethan Scheiner


Position Title
Professor of Political Science
Director of Undergraduate Studies International Relations



  • Ph.D., Political Science, Duke University, 2001
  • M.A., Political Science, Duke University, 1998
  • M.A., Political Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1994
  • B.A., Politics, University of California at Santa Cruz, 1991


Ethan Scheiner’s research and teaching focuses on Japanese politics, general issues surrounding democratic representation, and the interplay between politics and sports. He has been an Advanced Research (postdoctoral) Fellow in the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations at Harvard University (2001-02), and a postdoctoral fellow at the Stanford Institute for International Studies (2002-2004). His first book, Democracy Without Competition in Japan: Opposition Failure in a One-Party Dominant State (2006 at Cambridge University Press) offers an explanation for opposition party failure in Japan, a democracy dominated by one party since 1955. His second book, Electoral Systems and Political Context:  How the Effects of Rules Vary across New and Established Democracies (co-authored with Robert Moser, 2012 at Cambridge University Press), examines elections around the world to understand when electoral rules will – and will not – have the effects typically expected of them. He is the co-editor, along with Robert Pekkanen, Steven Reed, and Daniel Smith, of a book series that (since 2012) analyzes the politics surrounding every lower house election in Japan. He has published articles on political parties, elections, and electoral systems across a range of political science and Asia studies journals. Most recently, he has begun a new project that seeks to tell the story of global politics in the 20th century through the lens of the world’s major sporting events and the athletes who participated in them. 

Research Focus

Comparative Politics, Japanese Politics, Political Parties, Electoral Systems, Elections, Politics & Sports

Selected Publications

  • Pekkanen, R. J., & Reed, S. R., Scheiner, E. (Eds.) (2015) Japan Decides 2014: The Japanese General Election, New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 

  • Ferree, K. E., Powell, G. B., & Scheiner, E. (2014) Context, electoral rules, and party systems, Annual Review of Political Science 17:421–39. 
  • Pekkanen, R. J., Reed, S. R., & Scheiner, E. (Eds.) (2013) Japan Decides 2012: The Japanese General Election, New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 
  • Moser, R. G.  & Scheiner, E. (2012) Electoral Systems and Political Context: How the Effects of Rules Vary Across New and Established Democracies. New York: Cambridge University Press. 
  • Reed, S. R., Thies, M. F., & Scheiner, E. (2012) The end of LDP dominance and the rise of party-oriented politics in Japan, Journal of Japanese Studies 38:353-376. 
  • Desposato, S., & Scheiner, E. (2008) Governmental centralization and party affiliation: Legislator strategies in Brazil and Japan, American Political Science Review 102:509-524. 
  • Scheiner, E. (2006) Democracy Without Competition in Japan: Opposition Failure in a One-Party Dominant State. New York: Cambridge University Press. 
  • Scheiner, E. (2005) Pipelines of pork: A model of local opposition party failure, Comparative Political Studies 38:799-823.2003.   
  • Reed, S. R., & Scheiner, E. Electoral incentives and policy preferences: Mixed motives behind party defections in Japan, British Journal of Political Science 33:469-490. 
  • McKean, M. A., & Scheiner, E. (2000) Japan’s new electoral system: La plus ça change..., Electoral Studies 19:447-477. 


Ethan Scheiner’s courses present substantively interesting events in a fun manner to help students learn to better analyze the world around them. In Politics & Sports (POL12A), students learn about world and American politics of the 20th century through fascinating sports stories. In When Institutions Fail (POL140D), students learn how the rules we use to elect politicians shape the kind of politics we end up with. In Introduction to Comparative Politics (POL2), students learn how to use social science approaches to better understand the world around them. In Japanese Politics (POL148B), students learn about post-World War II Japanese politics. 


  • Featured as example of UC Davis mentorship (2015):  
  • One of three finalists for the ASUCD Excellence in Education Award for the UC Davis College of Letters and Science - Division of Social Sciences (2011) 
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford University Institute for International Studies (2002-04) 
  • Advanced Research Fellow, Program on U.S.-Japan Relations, Harvard University (2001-02) 
  • Nominee for American Political Science Association Award for Best Dissertation in the field of Political Economy (2002) 
  • Japan Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship (1999) 
  • National Security Education Program Fellow (1998-1999) 
  • Voted Friendliest Person at the Middlebury College summer Japanese language program (1996)