Notes on the 'Freezing Hypothesis'
AbstractIt is now 40 years since Lipset and Rokkans heavily influential ‘Cleavage Structures…’ was first published. Current research has still made little effort to explain why the ‘freezing’ of party systems these authors observed actually took place. The purpose here is to contribute to this field by elucidating the individual-level mechanisms that make party system stability more intelligible. The argument put forward here is that three interrelated factors give us deeper insights into the mechanics of the so called ‘freezing process’. Firstly, the ‘problem of collective action among potential party-entrepreneurs’ makes it puzzling that new political parties emerge at all. Secondly, even if the original collective-action problem somehow is overcome, the ‘principal-agent problem’ and the ‘problem of voter coordination’ make it hard for new parties to attract voters. Finally, well-established and powerful competitors have the incentives and instruments to fight newcomers and steer them away from the political arena. I reach the conclusion that it is not surprising at all that Lipset and Rokkan made their empirical observations. Instead, what is really puzzling is why new political parties emerge and gain support at all.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by The Ratio Institute in its series Ratio Working Papers with number 113.
Length: 13 pages
Date of creation: 24 May 2007
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: The Ratio Institute, P.O. Box 5095, SE-102 42 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: 08-441 59 00
Fax: 08-441 59 29
Web page: http://www.ratio.se/
More information through EDIRC
Party systems; 'freezing hypothesis'; party formation;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
- D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
- D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
- H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2007-06-02 (All new papers)
- NEP-CDM-2007-06-02 (Collective Decision-Making)
- NEP-PBE-2007-06-02 (Public Economics)
- NEP-POL-2007-06-02 (Positive Political Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
- Joseph Willey, 1998. "Institutional Arrangements and the Success of New Parties in Old Democracies," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 46(3), pages 651-668, 08.
- Richard Schmalensee, 1978. "Entry Deterrence in the Ready-to-Eat Breakfast Cereal Industry," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(2), pages 305-327, Autumn.
- Demsetz, Harold, 1982.
"Barriers to Entry,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 72(1), pages 47-57, March.
- Mueller, Dennis C., 1997. "First-mover advantages and path dependence," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 827-850, October.
- Carles Boix, 1999. "Setting the rules of the game: The choice of electoral systems in advanced democracies," Economics Working Papers 367, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Martin Korpi).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.