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A Dynamic Duverger's Law

  • Jean Guillaume Forand

    (Department of Economics, University of Waterloo)

  • Vikram Maheshri

    (Department of Economics, University of Houston)

Electoral systems promote strategic voting and aect 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 eects 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 benets 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.

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Paper provided by University of Waterloo, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1304.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2013
Date of revision: Oct 2013
Handle: RePEc:wat:wpaper:1304
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  1. Morelli, Massimo, 1998. "Party Formation and Policy Outcomes Under Different Electoral Systems," Staff General Research Papers 1242, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  2. 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.
  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. Herrera, Helios; Morelli, Massimo, 2010. "Turnout and Power Sharing," Economics Working Papers ECO2010/12, European University Institute.
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