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How party systems Form: The Institutional, Historical and Strategic Foundations of the Post-War ... - page 7 / 42





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and coordination effects and adaptive expectations are present are particularly prone to generate increasing returns and path dependencies. (2000, 76-77; 2003) Specifying these conditions and analyzing the various mechanisms producing increasing returns become the primary task of historical analysis – a task requiring a great deal of case-specific knowledge and a task not easily accommodate by large N  research designs.

Politically Induced Equilibria (Coordination Strategies): If historical factors shape expectations prior to founding election, then political strategies reshape expectations between elections. (i.e. dotted box 3) Voters update their information not just through learning from quadrennial election outcomes, but also in response to how politicians transform the political environment produced by the previous election. (Laver and Benoit 2003) Jack Bielasiak observed that “the development of party structures is driven by election outcomes, and by parliamentary gamesmanship between elections. Elections and parliamentary activities … act as screenings devices that elevate some political contenders to prominent roles and marginalizes other party formations.” (1997, 28) Gary Cox loosely labeled these forms of inter-electoral gamesmanship, coordination strategies. They capitalize on the fact that the political value of individual votes is not given, but can be enhanced or diminished through coordination moves taking place between elections. Coordination strategies play an important but underappreciated role in inducing equilibiria, and therefore require slightly more attention than the other two.

Table 1 lists the coordination strategies identified in the literature (even though they are not always labeled as such), and summarizes how they enhance the value of votes in the sense of increasing their seat-winning capacity. They include aggregating votes across districts through forming national parties (Aldrich 1995; Chhibber and Kollman 2004; Cox 1997, 181-202), pooling or trading votes through inter-party electoral coalitions  (Cox 1997, 41-42; Shvetsova 2002; Tsebelis 1990, 187-233), limiting the entry of new competitors to avoid diluting existing votes (Birnir 2005; Cox 1997, 151-78), changing the rules that determine how votes will be counted when translated into

Party Switching3/12/2007p.

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