Pradeep Chhibber and Kenneth Kollman, Formation of National Party Systems: Federalism and party competition in Canada, Great Britain, India and the United States (2004), Chapters 1, 8.

Main Argument: This book tries to explain how parties form in federal systems at both levels and why regional parties have drawn significant vote shares.  The authors state that the nature of federalism influences the dynamics and stability of the party system; the stability of the party system is not dependent on social cleavages, electoral laws and other constitutional features. <br/>

 

Method:  Theory building chapter. Extends theoretical arguments about party systems (outlined in Chapter 1) to federal systems. <br/>

 

== Notes ==

Chapter 1:<br/>

 

National Party System: A party system in which the same parties compete at different levels of vote aggregation<br/>

 

– Authors use Laakso & Taagepera’s effective number of parties<br/>

– They looks for an explanation as to why a national party system will be formed and detail conditions under which the party system may not be national <br/>

 

Three approaches to Party Systems:<br/>

 

1) Party Systems as a Reflection of Social Cleavages:<br/>

– Class forms the basis of the party system when the working class overwhelmingly vote for a labour party (Butler & Stokes 1970) (ie. Britain), but regionalism can still spring up (Scotland & Wales) <br/>

– Cleavages also arise from the elites exacerbating social rifts [13]<br/>

2) Parties as Solutions to Collective Dilemmas:<br/>

– Scholars look at the self-interested behaviour of voters, candidates or legislators as an explanation as to why parties form <br/>

– This has roots in Aldrich (1995) where entrepreneurial politicians have strong incentives to set up long term commitment devices [14]<br/>

3) Party Systems as Reflections of Institutional Rules:<br/>

– Based in the work of Duverger (1954), Cox (1997), Riker (1982), Lijphart (1994)<br/>

– Institutional approach to party system formation <br/><br/>

 

*Second and third approaches are related in that they both emphasise the importance of formal institutions that constrain the self-interested behaviour of politicians (example: Cox 1997)<br/>

*First and third approaches are linked in that their conclusions highlight the durability of a party system (see Lipset & Rokkan 1967; Lijphart 1994; Sartori 1986)<br/><br/>

Omissions in the Literature:<br/>

– Highlights newer research (Kitschelt 1989 & Kalyvas 1996) as looking to more than social cleavages in the formation of party systems<br/>

– Party systems may have started from a cleavage, but were ultimately enforced by a multitude of factors <br/>

– Other explanations hold that electoral systems are chosen to reinforce social cleaves and that formal rules are determined by (rather than determine) political alliances and parties (Stokes 1963; Boix 1988)<br/>

 

 

Federalism and the Party System:<br/>

– Politicians have always seen it in their collective and individuals interests to establish linkages across district lines to aggregate votes and create parties that draw more votes –> can influence policy better that way [this is called party aggregation]<br/>

– Electoral system effects are most prominent in district election, but party aggregation depends on the policies and role of the national government in relation to sub national governments<br/>

– Federal politicises of the national government hinder or help minor, region-based parties to survive on the national scene and therefore affect the nature of party coalitions and party systems [21]<br/><br/>

Chapter 8: Conclusion<br/>

 

– It is misleading to draw direct causal links between electoral systems and the number of political parties at the national level<br/>

– National parties did not always centralise when they were in power<br/>

– Some regional parties moved authority to provinces when they were in power<br/>

– But provincialisation sometime occurs in response to threats from regional parties<br/>

– In cases such as Britain and Canada, the role of the central government expanded because of the rise of the welfare state (not owing to party systems)<br/>

– Provincialisation can occur when power goes to the state or provinces because of local elites feeling threatened by centralisation and calling for diverting resources away from the central government [230]<br/>

– Summary: there is the possibility of reciprocal causation that election results can lead to changes in political authority structures which in turn affect election results

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