Duverger's Laws: Between Social and Institutional Determinism
15 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2010
Date Written: 2006
The purpose of this short research note is to reallocate the so-called "Duverger's Laws" within the debate about the effects of electoral systems on the number of parties. Although Duverger's theory has always been seen as the best example of a purely institutionalist approach to the issue, it is possible to state that this is only true if one overemphasises the meaning of the laws' statements alone and does not consider Duverger's justification and explanations for them. But if one takes into consideration not only the laws but also Duverger's theories about the effects of electoral systems on the number of parties as a whole, one can argue that Duverger's theses do not have a purely institutionalist character and can therefore coexist with theories that try to take into account also other variables than the electoral rules when analysing the issue.
Keywords: electoral systems, Duverger's Laws; political parties; proportional representation
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