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Unpacking LogM: Toward a More General Theory of Party System Density

Authors


  • Simon Otjes is a PhD Student, Pieter de la Court Building, Wassenaarseweg 52, 2333 AK Leiden, Institute of Political Science, Leiden University (c_mon_otjes@hotmail.com). Sergiu Gherghina is a PhD Student, Pieter de la Court Building, Wassenaarseweg 52, 2333 AK Leiden, Institute of Political Science, Leiden University (sergiulor@yahoo.com). Arjen van Witteloostuijn is Professor, Stadscampus, S.Z.103, Kipdorp 61, 2000 Antwerpen, Department of Management, University of Antwerp (Arjen.vanwitteloostuijn@ua.ac.be). Gabor Peli is Associate Professor, School of Economics, Janskerkhof 3, 3512 BK Utrecht, University of Utrecht (g.peli@uu.nl). Holly Brasher is Associate Professor, Department of Government, 1401 University Blvd., HHB 415, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294-1152 (hbrasher@bham.rr.com).

David Lowery is Professor of Public Administration, Leiden University, Pieter de la Court Building, Wassenaarseweg 52, 2333 AK Leiden, Institute of Public Administration, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands (dlowery@fsw.leidenuniv.nl).

Abstract

The standard model of political party system density combines two traditions to explain why some countries have more political parties than others, one tradition that emphasizes social cleavages and another that emphasizes electoral institutions, especially district magnitude. Despite its considerable success, there are several reasons to be less than fully satisfied with the standard model. We examine two of these problems associated with the scope of strategic voting and the functional form of the specification used to test the model. In doing so, we contrast the standard interpretation with an organizational ecology model that accounts for what the standard model did so well, but also accounts for important anomalies it ignores. We reexamine some of the key analyses that have been used to test the standard model to assess the severity of its limitations and the utility of the rival organizational ecology account.

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