Invisible Politics: Institutional Incentives and Legislative Alignments in the Russian Duma, 1996–99

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Abstract

Previous analysis of legislative voting has focused on the behavior of nominal legislative parties, regardless of whether the country under examination was an established democracy or a newly democratized country. This approach is inadequate for countries with young party systems. To establish the extent to which legislative coalitions are party based, scholars must allow for the possibility that institutional incentives predominate over party influence. For this study, I applied a Bayesian discrete latent variable method to identify the legislative coalitions in the 1996-99 Duma. I found that legislative alignments cut across party lines: electoral incentives and support for the president contribute to divides within parties that lack coherent platforms. Here I present a novel methodological approach to the identification of intraparty divisions and the major determinants of legislative coalitions in many legislative settings. This approach allows a comparison of the importance of party influence relative to other institutional incentives. It is especially useful for analyzing legislative voting in young party systems and where constitutional frameworks and electoral systems subject legislators to competing pressures.

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