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How party systems Form: The Institutional, Historical and Strategic Foundations of the Post-War ... - page 8 / 42





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seats2 (Benoit 2004; Boix 1999), or changing value of votes after the election when individual politicians switch their party affiliations. (Gunther 1989; Kreuzer and Pettai 2003; Mainwaring 1999, 131-74; Shabad and Slomczynski 2004)

Table 1: Coordination Strategies and Value of Votes

Coordination Strategy …

…  increases vote value to the extent that it …

a. Strategic Entry 1

… limits the supply of voting options and hence reduces risk of vote dilution.

b. Changes of seat related electoral procedures 3

… increases the seat value of votes  (e.g. increases disproportionality to reduce the seat value of votes received by smaller parties)

c. Switching of party affiliation 2

… candidates switch from smaller to larger parties or parties merge to pool seats.

d. Electoral Coalition 4

… pools vote through electoral alliances/apparantements or trade them through cross-district candidate withdrawals.

d. Party Formation

… aggregates local vote getting efforts horizontally across districts and vertically across levels of government.

1) Includes party registration laws and party-internal candidate selection procedures; 3) Seat related procedures include district magnitude, threshold and electoral formula; 2) Switching includes hopping of candidates among existing parties, mergers and fissions; 4) Includes cross-district withdrawals of candidates, electoral alliances (e.g. merging of separate lists prior to election), and apparantements (e.g. separate lists joined solely for seat allocation of voting)

Why Do Coordination Strategies Matter ? The party system literature, especially in its institutional garb, assumes that electoral markets are efficient and thereby pre-determine what sort of coordination strategies are chosen. It employs a tacit functional logic whereby the strategies are part of an invisible natural selection process through which politicians decide to merge, withdraw, switch in response to prior and anticipated elections outcomes. Coordination strategies are in effect accelerators that amplify market outcomes; but their choice is predetermined by market outcomes and thus lacks any independent causal impact on the formation of party systems. This functional logic logic

2 Olga Shvetsova points out that electoral institutions can be both causes and effects of party systems depending on how much ex ante information the institutional designers have about the institutions’ likely effects. German politicians, who changed minor electoral procedures after the adoption of the original 1949 electoral system, had very reliable information about the effects their proposed institutional change. I treat such instances as political induced equilibria because it is the ex ante information and requisite control of parliamentary majorities that transformed the party system rather than the institutions themselves. (2003)

Party Switching3/12/2007p.

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