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A Dynamic Duverger's Law

Author

Listed:
  • Jean Guillaume Forand

    (Department of Economics, University of Waterloo)

  • Vikram Maheshri

    (Department of Economics, University of Houston)

Abstract

Electoral systems promote strategic voting and affect party systems. Duverger (1951) proposed that plurality rule leads to bi-partyism and proportional representation leads to multi-partyism. We show that in a dynamic setting, these static effects also lead to a higher option value for existing minor parties under plurality rule, so their incentive to exit the party system is mitigated by their future benefits from continued participation. The predictions of our model are consistent with multiple cross-sectional predictions on the comparative number of parties under plurality rule and proportional representation. In particular, there could be more parties under plurality rule than under proportional representation at any point in time. However, our model makes a unique time-series prediction: the number of parties under plurality rule should be less variable than under proportional representation. We provide extensive empirical evidence in support of these results.

Suggested Citation

  • Jean Guillaume Forand & Vikram Maheshri, 2013. "A Dynamic Duverger's Law," Working Papers 1304, University of Waterloo, Department of Economics, revised Sep 2015.
  • Handle: RePEc:wat:wpaper:1304
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:cup:apsrev:v:92:y:1998:i:02:p:329-342_21 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Blais, André & Carty, R. K., 1991. "The Psychological Impact of Electoral Laws: Measuring Duverger's Elusive Factor," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 21(01), pages 79-93, January.
    3. Massimo Morelli, 2004. "Party Formation and Policy Outcomes under Different Electoral Systems," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(3), pages 829-853.
    4. Helios Herrera & Massimo Morelli & Thomas Palfrey, 2014. "Turnout and Power Sharing," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 124(574), pages 131-162, February.
    5. repec:cup:apsrev:v:76:y:1982:i:04:p:753-766_18 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Fujiwara, Thomas, 2011. "A Regression Discontinuity Test of Strategic Voting and Duverger's Law," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 6(3–4), pages 197-233, November.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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