Electoral Systems and Party Systems: A Study of Twenty-Seven Democracies, 1945-1990

Paperback | November 1, 1995

byArend Lijphart

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An electoral system is the most fundamental element of representative democracy, translating citizen's votes into representatives' seats. It is also the most potent practical instrument available to democratic reformers. This systematic and comprehensive study describes and classifies the 70 electoral systems used by 27 democracies - including those of Western Europe, Australia, Canada, the USA, Costa Rica, India, Israel, Japan, and New Zealand - for 384 national legislative and European Parliament electionsbetween 1945 and 1990. Using comparative and statistical analyses of these systems, Arend Lijphart demonstrates the effect of the electoral formula used, the number of representatives elected per district, electoral thresholds, and of five other key features of electoral systems on the proportionality of the electionoutcome, the degree of multipartism, and the creation of majority parties. In the process he reveals that electoral systems are neither as diverse nor as complex as is often assumed. Electoral Systems and Party Systems represents the most definitive treatment of the subject since Rae's classic study in 1967, based as it is on more accurate and comprehensive data (covering more countries and over a longer time span), and using stronger hypotheses and better analytical methods.The unique information and analysis it offers will make it essential reading for everyone working in the field.

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An electoral system is the most fundamental element of representative democracy, translating citizen's votes into representatives' seats. It is also the most potent practical instrument available to democratic reformers. This systematic and comprehensive study describes and classifies the 70 electoral systems used by 27 democracies -...

Arend Lijphart is President-Elect of the American Political Science Association and is the author of a large number of other books including: Power-Sharing in South Africa (University of California, 1985) Democracies: Patterns of Majoritarian and Consensus Government in 21 Countries (Yale University Press, 1984 [new ed. forthcoming]) ...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:228 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.55 inPublished:November 1, 1995Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198280548

ISBN - 13:9780198280545

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction; Goals and Methods3. Disproportionality, Multipartism, and Majority Victories4. Changes in Election Rules Between Systems in the Same Country5. Bivariate and Multivariate Analyses6. Four Other Potential ExplanationsAppendices:7. Electoral Engineering: Limits and ResponsibilitiesAppendicesA: Proportional Representation FormulasB: Indices of Disproportionality and Party System CharacteristicsC: Data: Sources, Additions, Corrections, Clarifications

Editorial Reviews

`...this is a truly excellent book...Lijphart's book is necessary reading for anyone interested in the mechanics and consequences of electoral systems.'Political Studies