Electoral Rules, Strategic Entry and Polarization
27 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2019
Date Written: December 20, 2018
How does electoral rule disproportionality affect the structure of the party system (i.e. the number and the policy platforms of the competing parties)? By studying a model, where both party entry and platform choice are endogenous, we are able to provide a unified theory: An increasing electoral rule disproportionality exhibits: a) a first-order negative effect on platform polarization, b) a second-order negative effect on the number of parties (as polarization decreases, centrist parties are squeezed between other contenders and prefer not to enter), and c) an additional third-order negative effect on polarization via the reduction of the number of parties. We then conduct a laboratory experiment and strongly confirm the theoretical predictions of the model.
Keywords: electoral systems; proportional representation; disproportionality; strategic entry; polarization; laboratory experiment
JEL Classification: D72; C91
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation