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Constituency Size and Stability of Two-Party Systems

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  • Arturas Rozenas

    () (Department of Political Science, Duke University, Durham, USA)

Abstract

This paper investigates how constituency size affects spatial competition in a two-party system with a new entrant. When the electorate is small, two-party systems are stable only if the following conditions hold: the candidates are neither too certain nor too uncertain about voters’ preferences; competition is sufficiently costly; and the candidates have binding policy commitments. Moreover, whenever equilibrium exists in small constituencies, the two parties are considerably polarized. In contrast, when the electorate is large, two-party equilibrium obtains under a much wider set of conditions and exhibits low polarization. The Downsian prediction of two-party convergence and the Duvergerian prediction of plurality rule leading to a two-party system are more robust in larger electorates.

Suggested Citation

  • Arturas Rozenas, 2011. "Constituency Size and Stability of Two-Party Systems," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 23(3), pages 344-358, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:jothpo:v:23:y:2011:i:3:p:344-358
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Crès, Hervé & Tvede, Mich, 2009. "Production in incomplete markets: Expectations matter for political stability," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3-4), pages 212-222, March.
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    6. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/10281 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Caplin, Andrew & Nalebuff, Barry, 1991. "Aggregation and Social Choice: A Mean Voter Theorem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(1), pages 1-23, January.
    8. Hervé Crès & Mich Tvede, 2005. "Portfolio Diversification and Internalization of Production Externalities through Majority Voting," Working Papers hal-00587205, HAL.
    9. Grandmont, Jean-Michel, 1978. "Intermediate Preferences and the Majority Rule," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(2), pages 317-330, March.
    10. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135-135.
    11. Hervé Crès & Mich Tvede, 2005. "Portfolio Diversification and Internalization of Production Externalities through Majority Voting," Working Papers hal-01065579, HAL.
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