Local Districts, National Contexts, and the Number of Parties

Tiemann, Guido (2015) Local Districts, National Contexts, and the Number of Parties. West European Politics, 38 (1). pp. 123-144.

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Abstract or Table of Contents

To date, electoral systems are conceptualised as setting an ‘upper bound’ to, or defining a ‘carrying capacity’ for, the number of parties or lists, and their effect is assessed at the district level. This article adds to the empirical study of electoral systems by analysing a vast database of district-level electoral returns. The argument focuses on the demand and supply of viable electoral candidates, which are conditioned by the interplay of strategic entry (by the party rank and file) and strategic voting (by the electorate). Drawing on a database of almost 18,000 electoral districts taken from 15 West European countries, the empirical analysis yields a number of insights: most specifically, (1) district magnitude only becomes binding and effective when a higher social demand meets a lower carrying capacity of the electoral district; (2) the provision of upper tiers undermines the emergence of Duvergerian equilibria within the primary electoral districts. (author's abstract)

Item Type: Article in Academic Journal
Status: Published
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2014 13:17
Last Modified: 01 Apr 2016 14:16
URI: http://irihs.ihs.ac.at/id/eprint/2578

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