Comparative Politics Week 8 Notes
Comparative Politics Week 8 Notes POLC2300-06
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Jillian Marks on Tuesday March 8, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to POLC2300-06 at Tulane University taught by Oliveros, Virginia in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 13 views. For similar materials see Comparative Politics in Political Science at Tulane University.
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Date Created: 03/08/16
Effects of Electoral Systems and Parties and Party Systems I. Effects of Electoral Rules A. Proportionality Electoral systems more proportional if distribution of seats matches distribution of votes more closely Main factors = district magnitude, threshold B. Party Discipline A disciplined party is one in which all members of the party act and vote together and all party leaders speak for party Voter’s ballot options affect candidate’s incentives to follow party lines - Closed list systems – high levels of discipline because all candidates must be in good standing to get elected - Open lists systems – lower levels of party discipline C. Personal Vote Occurs when voters vote based on characteristics of a particular candidate Systems that allow voters to choose between candidates within a party encourage candidates to develop personal and distinct reputations D. Party Systems Distinguish based on number and size of parties Party systems in democracies: - One party systems – multiple parties but only one has realistic chance of winning - Two party systems – only 2 major political parties II. Why do some countries have more political parties than others? Duverger’s Theory - social divisions create demand for political parties and electoral institutions then determine the degree to which that demand is translated into: a. Parties that win votes b. Parties that win seats Majoritarian electoral laws prevent social cleavages from being translated into new parties III. Mechanical Effects of Electoral Laws Way votes are translated into seats In disproportional electoral systems, mechanical effects punish small parties and reward large parties If a party is broadly based but geographically spread out, it will do poorly if it narrowly loses multiple elections - Eventually people stop voting for them because they are lost votes IV. Strategic Effect The way that votes are translated into seats influences the “strategic” behavior of voters - Voting for your second choice because first choice has no chance Voters and politicians understand mechanical effects and adjust behaviors accordingly - Voters vote for preferred candidate who has realistic chance of winning - Politicians run for office under most preferred party that has realistic chance of winning V. Duverger’s Theory Size of a country’s party systems is a result of interaction between social and institutional factors - Social divisions create demand for parties - Majoritarian systems have mechanical and strategic effects that tend to limit number of parties 3 observable implications - Single member district party (SMDP) systems encourage two-party systems - PR systems favor multiparty systems – allow smaller parties to survive, fewer lost votes VI. Defining Parties Ideological definitions - “party Is body of men united…national interest…” minimalistic definitions - attention to competition - “group of people who have organized to attain and hold political power” VII. Why do parties form? Parties fundamental to democracy Institutional theories (Duverger, Weber) - Origins of political parties in 19 century Europe linked to two interrelated developments a. Transfer of political power to legislatures b. Gradual expansion of suffrage – need parties to manage more people voting Rational choice (Aldrich) - Parties resulted from politicians seeking to achieve goals, not social cleavages - Problems of elections a. Problem of ambition = winning election – parties establish brand, campaigning is cheaper, easier b. Social choice problems – easier to make decisions with stronger parties c. Collective action problem = getting broad support