Fragmentation Without Cleavages? Endogenous Fractionalization in the Brazilian Party System

Forthcoming in Comparative Politics (ISSN 0010-4159)

36 Pages Posted: 17 Oct 2019

See all articles by Cesar Zucco

Cesar Zucco

Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) - Brazilian School of Public and Business Administration (EBAPE)

Timothy J. Power

University of Oxford

Date Written: August 27, 2019

Abstract

This article investigates the causes of party system hyperfragmentation in Brazil. We ask why hyperfragmentation — understood as extreme multipartism that continues to fractionalize — occurs despite significant changes to social cleavages or to electoral rules. Using survey data from federal legislators, we rule out the possibility of new issue-based multidimensionality. Using new estimates of the ideological position of legislative parties, we show that new party entry was not driven by polarization or convergence among traditional parties. We advance an alternative explanation of “fragmentation without cleavages,” arguing that changing dynamics of electoral list composition, federal party funding, and coalition management have changed the context of political ambition. For strategically minded elites, it is more attractive than ever before to be a dominant player in a small party.

Keywords: Fragmentation, Ideology, Party System, Brazil

JEL Classification: H11, Y80

Suggested Citation

Zucco, Cesar and Power, Timothy J., Fragmentation Without Cleavages? Endogenous Fractionalization in the Brazilian Party System (August 27, 2019). Forthcoming in Comparative Politics (ISSN 0010-4159). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3466149 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3466149

Cesar Zucco (Contact Author)

Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) - Brazilian School of Public and Business Administration (EBAPE) ( email )

Praia de Botafogo 190
Rio de Janeiro, RJ
Brazil

Timothy J. Power

University of Oxford ( email )

Department of Economics
Manor Road
Oxford, OX1 3UQ
United Kingdom

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