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Electoral rules, strategic entry and polarization

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Damien Bol, Konstantinos Matakos, Orestis Troumpounis, Dimitrios Xefteris

Original languageEnglish
Article number104065
Pages (from-to)1-12
Early online date28 Sep 2019
Accepted/In press21 Aug 2019
E-pub ahead of print28 Sep 2019
PublishedOct 2019

King's Authors


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.

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