The Politics of Electoral Systems

Paperback | January 22, 2008

byMichael Gallagher, Paul Mitchell

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Electoral systems matter. They are a crucial link in the chain connecting the preferences of citizens to the policy choices made by governments. They are chosen by political actors and, once in existence, have political consequences for those actors. They are an important object of study foranyone interested in the political process, and in this book we subject them to systematic analysis. In addition to some comparative chapters, the book contains full accounts of the operation of electoral systems in 22 countries: France, the UK, Germany, Italy, Israel, Spain, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, The Netherlands, Ireland, Hungary, Russia, Australia, Canada, India, the USA, Japan, NewZealand, Chile, and South Africa. The book provides detailed analyses of the operation of a diverse set of electoral systems in their national context. Each chapter explains how the electoral system really works in the given country, examining the strategic incentives the system provides to voters, candidates, and parties. Allcountry chapters have a common format and structure. Successive sections analyse: the institutional context; how each electoral system was chosen historically; how the current electoral system operates (the rules, mechanics, and ballot structure); and the political consequences of the current system(the impact on the party system, the internal life of parties, and the impact on parliament and government formation). Each country chapter then contains a final section which focuses on the politicization of electoral institutions. In recent years many countries have changed their electoralsystems, either entirely or in part so there is a strong focus on the processes of electoral reform, both historically and prospectively. The book concentrates on the real world 'politics', as well as the 'political science' of electoral systems. The book will be of interest to those concerned with the practical political business of electoral reform. The book contains a wealth of evidence about the performance of various kinds of proportional representation and of non-PR systems. This will be invaluable for anyone interested in thequestion: 'What would be the best electoral system for my country?'

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Electoral systems matter. They are a crucial link in the chain connecting the preferences of citizens to the policy choices made by governments. They are chosen by political actors and, once in existence, have political consequences for those actors. They are an important object of study foranyone interested in the political process, a...

Michael Gallagher is Professor of Comparative Politics at Trinity College, University of Dublin. He has also been a visiting Professor at New York University and at City University of Hong Kong. His research has covered various aspects of elections, electoral systems and political parties in a comparative context. Paul Mitchell: Gra...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:688 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 1.89 inPublished:January 22, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199238677

ISBN - 13:9780199238675

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Table of Contents

Arend Lijphart: ForewordPart 1: Introduction: Electoral Systems and Electoral Systems Research1. Michael Gallagher and Paul Mitchell: Introduction to Electoral Systems2. Matthew Soberg Shugart: Comparative Electoral Systems Research: The Maturation of a Field and New Challenges Ahead3. Richard S. Katz: Why are There so many (or so few) Electoral Reforms?Part 2: Single-Member Constituency Systems4. David M. Farrell and Ian McAllister: Australia: The Alternative vote in a Compliant Political Culture5. Louis Massicotte: Canada: Sticking to First-past-the-Post, for the Time Being6. Robert Elgie: France: Stacking the Deck7. Anthony Heath, Siana Glouharova, and Oliver Heath: India: Two-Party Contests Within a Multi-Party System8. Paul Mitchell: United Kingdom: Plurality Rule Under Siege9. Shaun Bowler, Todd Donovan, and Jennifer Van Heerde: United States of America: Perpetual Campaigning in the Absence of CompetitionPart 3: Mixed Systems10. Thomas Saalfeld: Germany: Stability and Strategy in a Mixed-Member Proportional System11. Kenneth Benoit: Hungary: Holding Back the Tiers12. Roberto D'Alimonte: Italy: A Case of Fragmented Bipolarism13. Steven R. Reed: Japan: Haltingly Toward a Two-Party System14. Jack Vowles: New Zealand: The Consolidation of Reform?15. Stephen White: Russia: The Authoritarian Adaptation of an Electoral SystemPart 4: Closed List Systems16. Gideon Rahat and Reuven Y. Hazan: Israel: The Politics of Extreme Proportionality17. Amanda Gouws and Paul Mitchell: South Africa: One Party Dominance Despite Perfect Proportionality18. Jonathan Hopkin: Spain: Proportional Representation with Majoritarian OutcomesPart 5: Preferential List Systems and PR-STV19. Wolfgang C. Muller: Austria: A Complex Electoral System with Subtle Effects20. Lieven De Winter: Belgium: Empowering Voters or Party Elites?21. Peter Siavelis: Chile: The Unexpected (and Expected) Consequences of Electoral Engineering22. Jorgen Elklit: Denmark: Simplicity Embedded in Complexity (or Is it the Other Way Round?)23. Tapio Raunio: Finland: One Hundred Years of Quietude24. Rudy B. Andeweg: The Netherlands: The Sanctity of Proportionality25. Michael Gallagher: Ireland: The Discreet Charm of PR-STVPart 6: Conclusion26. Michael Gallagher: ConclusionAppendix A - The Mechanics of Electoral SystemsAppendix B - Indices of Fragmentation and DisproportionalityAppendix C: Effective Threshold and Effective District MagnitudeAppendix D: Values of Indices for 22 Countries at Most Recent ElectionAppendix E: Web Sites Related to Elections, Election Results, and Electoral Systems

Editorial Reviews

`It is a valuable and important work of reference for anyone in academia or policy development with a serious interest in comparative electoral systems'Representation