Duvergerelectoralsystems

Duvergerelectoralsystems - Clark, Golder / Rehabilitating...

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10.1 7 /0 104140 5278420 Comparative Political Studies Clark, Golder / Rehabilitating Duverger ’s Theory Rehabilitating Duverger’s Theory Testing the Mechanical and Strategic Modifying Effects of Electoral Laws William Roberts Clark University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Matt Golder Florida State University, Tallahassee Although Duverger is traditionally seen as synonymous with the institution- alist approach to party systems, this article shows that he believed social pres- sures were the driving force behind the multiplication of parties. Electoral institutions are important, but only because they determine the extent to which social forces are translated into political parties. Although the literature has finally come to realize that social and institutional forces interact to shape party systems, scholars still do not seem to fully understood the implications of Duverger’s theory. This article shows that existing research employs flawed statistical specifications, makes inferential errors, and does not calculate de- sired quantities of interest. Using a new data set that includes elections since 1946, the authors reexamine Duverger’s theory and find that modern tests largely bear out his expectations when properly specified and interpreted. This analysis also extends current research by specifically estimating the mechani- cal and strategic modifying effects of electoral institutions. Keywords: Duverger; social heterogeneity; party systems; electoral institutions T he literature addressing the number of political parties in a polity is one of the richest in comparative politics (Cox, 1997; Duverger, 1954/1963; Lijphart, 1994; Lipset & Rokkan, 1967; Riker, 1982). Both institutional and sociological branches of this literature have a pedigreed history. Recently, scholars have attempted to combine these approaches into a coherent expla- nation of party system development by arguing that sociological and insti- tutional factors have some sort of interactive effect on the number of parties 679 Comparative Political Studies Volume 39 Number 6 August 2006 679-708 © 2006 Sage Publications 10.1177/0010414005278420 http://cps.sagepub.com hosted at http://online.sagepub.com
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(Amorim Neto & Cox, 1997; Filippov, Ordeshook, & Shvetsova, 1999; Jones, 1994; Mozaffar, Scarritt, & Galaich, 2003; Ordeshook & Shvetsova, 1994). However, other than arguing that there is an interaction effect, these scholars fail to provide a clear exposition of the underlying causal process by which sociological and institutional factors interact to shape party systems. Moreover, they employ flawed statistical specifications, make inferential errors, and do not calculate desired quantities of interest. In this article, we argue that Maurice Duverger (1952, 1954/1963), the father of the so-called institutionalist approach, clearly articulated the way in which social and institutional variables interact a half century ago. We also show that mod- ern tests largely bear out his expectations when properly specified and interpreted.
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Duvergerelectoralsystems - Clark, Golder / Rehabilitating...

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