Electoral Systems and Party Systems: A Study of Twenty-Seven Democracies, 1945-1990

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Overview

The most fundamental element of representative democracy is the electoral system—translating citizens' votes into representatives' seats. Electoral systems are also the most practical and accessible instrument available to democratic reformers. This systematic and comprehensive study describes and classifies 70 electoral systems used by 27 democracies including those of Western Europe, the United States, Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, India, Israel, Japan, and New Zealand. Using comparative and statistical analysis of these systems, Arend Lijphart demonstrates the effect of the electoral formula used, the number of representatives elected per district, electoral thresholds, and five other key features of electoral systems on the proportionality of the election outcome, the degree of multipartisanism, and the creation of majority parties. In the process, he reveals that electoral systems are neither as diverse nor as complex as is usually assumed. The most definitive treatment of the subject since Rae's classic study in 1967, this book is based on more accurate and comprehensive data covering more countries and a longer time-span and uses stronger hypotheses and better analytical methods. The unique information and analysis it offers will make it essential reading for scholars and students of comparative politics.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198273479
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 3/28/1994
  • Series: Comparative European Politics Series
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 5.75 (w) x 8.81 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Tables
Notes on the Author and the Collaborators
List of Abbreviations
1 Introduction: Goals and Methods 1
2 Electoral Systems: Types, Patterns, Trends 10
3 Disproportionality, Multipartism, and Majority Victories 57
4 Changes in Election Rules between Systems in the Same Country 78
5 Bivariate and Multivariate Analyses 95
6 Four Other Potential Explanations 118
7 Electoral Engineering: Limits and Possibilities 139
App. A. Proportional Representation Formulas 153
App. B. Indices of Disproportionality and Party System Characteristics 160
App. C. Data: Sources, Additions, Corrections, Clarifications 163
Notes 178
Bibliography 195
Index 205
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