The Politics of Electoral Systems

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Electoral systems matter. They are a crucial link in the chain connecting the preferences of citizens to the policy choices made by governments. They are chosen by political actors and, once in existence, have political consequences for those actors. They are an important object of study for anyone interested in the political process, and in this book we subject them to systematic analysis.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"It is a treasure trove of information about electoral systems and comprehensively examines how votes get translated into seats across the democratic world"—Times Higher Education Supplement

"This is not just any book on the politics of electoral systems; it is probably the book on the politics of electoral systems ... The authors of these studies are all highly talented scholars, who usually know the comparative literature as well as their countries. In other words, they know what they are talking about, and they have been given reasonably generous space and good editorial guidance with which to do it. The result is truly impressive."—West European Politics

"This is a very useful book which, not only for its biblical proportions, could justly claim to be a bible of electoral systems"—Irish Political Studies

"Overall, this is a superb collection, produced by scholars who know their subject matter and can present it in a very accessible form...this is a book for which much praise is due."—Parliamentary Affairs

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199238675
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 3/23/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 688
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.20 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Gallagher is Professor of Comparative Politics at Trinity College, University of Dublin. He has also been a visiting Professor at New York University and at City University of Hong Kong. His research has covered various aspects of elections, electoral systems and political parties in a comparative context.

Paul Mitchell graduated with a PhD in political science from the European University Institute, in Florence, Italy. After teaching at University College Galway and Queen's University Belfast, he joined the LSE in 2000 where he teaches party competition and research methods. During 2000/01 Mitchell was a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar at Harvard University. He is currently working on an ESRC funded study of the 2003 elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly.

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Table of Contents

Foreword   Arend Lijphart     vii
Preface to the Hardback Edition     xi
Preface to the Paperback Edition     xiii
List of Tables     xxiii
List of Figures     xxvii
Notes on Contributors     xxviii
Introduction: Electoral Systems and Electoral Systems Research
Introduction to Electoral Systems   Michael Gallagher   Paul Mitchell     3
Comparative Electoral Systems Research: The Maturation of a Field and New Challenges Ahead   Matthew Soberg Shugart     25
Why are There so Many (or so Few) Electoral Reforms?   Richard S. Katz     57
Single-Member Constituency Systems
Australia: The Alternative Vote in a Compliant Political Culture   David M. Farrell   Ian McAllister     79
Canada: Sticking to First-Past-the-Post, for the Time Being   Louis Massicotte     99
France: Stacking the Deck   Robert Elgie     119
India: Two-Party Contests within a Multiparty System   Anthony Heath   Siana Glouharova   Oliver Heath     137
The United Kingdom: Plurality Rule under Siege   Paul Mitchell     157
The United States of America: Perpetual Campaigning in the Absence of Competition   Shaun Bowler   Todd Donovan   Jennifer Van Heerde     185
Mixed Systems
Germany: Stability and Strategy in a Mixed-Member Proportional System   Thomas Saalfeld     209
Hungary: Holding back the Tiers   Kenneth Benoit     231
Italy: A Case of Fragmented Bipolarism   Roberto D'Alimonte     253
Japan: Haltingly Toward a Two-Party System   Steven R. Reed     277
New Zealand: The Consolidation of Reform?   Jack Vowles     295
Russia: The Authoritarian Adaptation of an Electoral System   Stephen White     313
Closed-List Systems
Israel: The Politics of an Extreme Electoral System   Gideon Rahat   Reuven Y. Hazan     333
South Africa: One Party Dominance Despite Perfect Proportionality   Amanda Gouws   Paul Mitchell     353
Spain: Proportional Representation with Majoritarian Outcomes   Jonathan Hopkin     375
Preferential List Systems and PR-STV
Austria: A Complex Electoral System with Subtle Effects   Wolfgang C. Muller     397
Belgium: Empowering Voters or Party Elites?   Lieven De Winter     417
Chile: The Unexpected (and Expected) Consequences of Electoral Engineering   Peter M. Siavelis     433
Denmark: Simplicity Embedded in Complexity (or Is it the Other Way Round?)   Jorgen Elklit     453
Finland: One Hundred Years of Quietude   Tapio Raunio     473
The Netherlands: The Sanctity of Proportionality   Rudy B. Andeweg     491
Ireland: The Discreet Charm of PR-STV   Michael Gallagher     511
Conclusion   Michael Gallagher     535
The Mechanics of Electoral Systems     579
Indices of Fragmentation and Disproportionality     598
Effective Threshold and Effective Magnitude     607
Values of Indices for 22 Countries at Most Recent Election     621
Websites Related to Elections, Election Results and Electoral Systems     622
Glossary     631
Abbreviations     637
Index     639
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