defecting from smaller parties with slim winning chances. These defections also are reflected in the decline in wasted, that is non-strategic, votes. The continuity in parties vote share indicates that voter choices remained consistent over time and that parties formed before the 1949 founding election (i.e. 1st Election Parties) remained the focal points of voters. Finally, parties formed after the 1st election never participated for more than two electoral cycles, thus suggesting strategic withdrawals. Overall then, the rapid and linear consolidation of the postwar Germany party system fits the causal account of institutionally induced strategic voting and efficient electoral markets. Moreover, German institutions – to the extent that they have an effect on strategic voting – were genuine causes rather than effects of a prior non-institutional factor (.e. party system, cleavages) determining their selection. This an important issue because, if institutions were indeed pre-determined, then their effects would be spurious. (Boix 1999; Colomer 2005; Shvetsova 2003) Since proving the absence of any endogeneity would unduly detract from the flow my argument, I moved the relevant discussion into Appendix I.
Table 2: Formation of Post-War German Party System
B. Party Stability2
1st Election Parties
2nd Election Parties
3rd Election Parties
4th Election Parties
5th Election Parties
6th Election Parties
C. Wasted Votes3 (in %)
Legend: 1Effective number of parliamentary parties. 2Vote Shares of parties according the electoral cycle during which they were founded. 3MMD vote shares of all parties failing to win seats.
Yet, if we look beyond the general pattern, a number inconsistencies and unanswered questions remain. First, institutional accounts imply that fragmentation and strategic voting should co-vary; yet in Table 2, we see fragmentation declining and waste vote shares remaining unchanged for the first three elections. This disjuncture suggests that voters defected until 1961 at higher rates from small, seat-winning and hence “risky