Bol D., Matakos K., Troumpounis O., Xefteris D. (2019).

Electoral Rules Strategic Entry and Polarization. Journal of Public Economics, volume 178, October 2019

 

Abstract:

How does electoral rule disproportionality affect the structure of the party system (i.e. the number and the policy platforms of the competing parties)? By studying a model where both party entry and platform choice are endogenous we are able to provide a unified theory: An increasing electoral rule disproportionality exhibits: a) a first-order negative effect on platform polarization, b) a second-order negative effect on the number of parties (as polarization decreases, centrist parties are squeezed between other contenders and prefer not to enter), and c) an additional third-order negative effect on polarization via the reduction of the number of parties. We then conduct a laboratory experiment and strongly confirm the theoretical predictions of the model.