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Duverger’s Theory

Duverger’s Theory

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Duverger’s Theory

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  1. Duverger’s Theory • Duverger’s explanation: • Mechanical effect: Disproportionality punishes minor parties severely. • Psychological effect: Voters are reluctant to vote for third parties. • The mechanical effect is not disputed.

  2. The Psychological Effect • Under SMPR, Duverger argues, voters take account of both their preferences and the likelihood of influencing the outcome. • ‘Wasted vote’ argument • What is required for strategic voting • Understanding of electoral system • Expectations about outcomes • Altruism ?

  3. Strategic Voting • The UK: SMPR • Compare survey and preference • Compare closeness of front runners (close = vote is more likely to be pivotal) with vote for third party • Germany: Mixed member • Compare Erststimme and Zweitstimme

  4. Strategic Voting • Canada: SMPR • Compare strategic voting between voters who will benefit with those it might benefit • Strength of preference between front runners • The U.S. • Third candidate strength within state.

  5. Does Duverger’s Theory hold? • Considerable support for both mechanical and psychological effects • However: • Strategic behavior is not universal • Any given voter will hardly ever influence outcome of election

  6. Other considerations • What does winning mean ? • Different political systems offer minority different opportunities to participate in government and policy making • Presidential vs. Parliamentary Systems • Different party systems create different incentives for party formation • Cohesive vs. weak parties

  7. Electoral Systems of the Post-Communist States • Different social and political context • Plurality elections in Russia, Ukraine and Poland have shown that fragmented systems can be produced • Focus on the party institutionalization • Institutionalization as predictability • Implications for strategic voting

  8. Limits of Duverger’s Law • Familiar ‘modifications’ • District magnitude • Interactions with cleavage structure • District level rather than national level • Conditions for observing for observing strategic voting: • Not short-term rational voters • Information • No sure winner • Voters have strict enough preferences

  9. District vs. Nation • Formation of a national two-party system requires coordination among district parties. • Institutions • Direct election of national executive (Cox) • Parties (Moser) • Parties “channel and aggregate public opinion” • Parties as labels for candidates

  10. New Democracies • Parties as cues for candidates • Absence of established parties creates uncertainty for voters • Parties die, new appear • Lack of continuity between elections • Voters lack information to vote strategically. • Theories relying on strategic voting fail

  11. The German Model • The Post-Communist states adopted electoral systems that resemble the German system • Influence of mixed-systems on party systems ? • Compensatory seats vs. non-compensatory.

  12. Some Findings • Established mixed systems exhibit moderate multi-partyism (?) • Not the case for east central Europe and Eurasia • Moser explains the difference by fractionalized social cleavage structure and weak electoral systems

  13. Research Design • Moser treats the two tiers as separate and compares them. • Controlled comparison: Holds various variables fixed and allows comparison of the effects of the electoral institution • Problems ? • Cross-contamination

  14. Sample • Russia: Mixed, weak parties • Hungary: Mixed, strong parties • Lithuania: Mixed, medium parties • Poland: PR, strong parties • Ukraine: Majoritarian, weak parties

  15. Table 2 Effective # of Legislative Parties Effective # of Electoral Parties Disproportionality Threshold Russia 1993 5% 7.58 6.40 4.94 Russia 1995 5% 10.68 3.32 20.56 Poland 1991 n.a. 12.50 10.87 6.11 Poland 1993 5% 9.80 3.86 17.81 Poland 1997 5% 4.59 2.95 10.63 Lithuania 1992 4% 4.10 2.86 7.55 Lithuania 1996 5% 7.94 3.16 16.34 Hungary 1990 4% 6.71 4.31 9.34 Hungary 1994 5% 5.49 3.73 8.53

  16. Some things to note • High number of electoral parties • Disproportionality higher than in consolidated democracies using PR -> Why ? • In Poland & Hungary the number of parties decreases over time • In Russia & Lithuania parties, and voters, have not responded in the same manner • Differences in Party Fragmentation ?

  17. Party Institutionalization • Poland & Hungary have fairly well developed party systems. • Russia: • Politics dominated by extremist parties. • Voters ignore incentives • Viable parties ? A lot of undecided voters in the opinion polls

  18. Effects of Majoritarian Systems • (Moser) In Russia & Ukraine the mechanical effect fails to reduce the number of parties (electoral->parliam.) • What is the mechanical effect ? • The effective number of candidates • Measurement ? • Independent candidates – Lack of institutionalization

  19. Single-member district and the number of parties • M+1 rule • None of the countries approaches M+1 candidates/parties (Moser) • Misunderstanding: • M+1 rule applies to district level • M+1 is an upper bound in PR systems