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Constituency Size and Stability of Two-Party Systems

  • Arturas Rozenas


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

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    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.

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    Article provided by in its journal Journal of Theoretical Politics.

    Volume (Year): 23 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 3 (July)
    Pages: 344-358

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    Handle: RePEc:sae:jothpo:v:23:y:2011:i:3:p:344-358
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