The Components of Elections: District Heterogeneity, District-Time Effects, and Volatility

Morgenstern, Scott and Richard Potthoff. 2005. The Components of Elections: District Heterogeneity, District-Time Effects, and Volatility,” Electoral Studies 24: 17-40.

Posted: 25 Jan 2016

See all articles by Scott J. Morgenstern

Scott J. Morgenstern

University of Pittsburgh - Department of Political Science

Richard Potthoff

Duke University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: 2005

Abstract

The quality and stability of democracy are often considered products of particular traits of parties or party systems. Studies of the ‘personal vote’ or ‘district effects’, the ‘nationalization of elections’, and ‘electoral volatility’, however, have generally conflated the different concepts at both the theoretical and empirical levels, thus raising questions about the independent relationship of each trait to democratic functioning. In response, we decompose district-level electoral data for parties in 20 countries from Europe and the Americas to clarify the conceptual dimensions along which parties and party systems may be compared. We show that what we term the ‘district-time effect’, ‘district heterogeneity’, and ‘electoral volatility’ are theoretically and empirically distinct properties of political parties with separable impacts on democracy, and we draw on this analysis to offer a new classification of political.

Keywords: elections, party nationalization

Suggested Citation

Morgenstern, Scott J. and Potthoff, Richard, The Components of Elections: District Heterogeneity, District-Time Effects, and Volatility (2005). Morgenstern, Scott and Richard Potthoff. 2005. The Components of Elections: District Heterogeneity, District-Time Effects, and Volatility,” Electoral Studies 24: 17-40., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2721455

Scott J. Morgenstern (Contact Author)

University of Pittsburgh - Department of Political Science ( email )

4L01 Posvar Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States

Richard Potthoff

Duke University - Department of Political Science ( email )

140 Science Drive (Gross Hall), 2nd floor
Duke University Mailcode: 90204
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States

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