Early in the presidential primary season in the United States, it was clear that the sitting President, Ronald Reagan, would easily win the Republican nomination and that former Vice President Walter F. Mondale was the front-runner for the Democratic nod. Democratic voters who knew that they disliked Mondale faced a coordination problem: if all of them could agree on a single alternative to Mondale, from among the half-dozen or so candidates languishing in single digits in the opinion polls, they could conceivably deny Mondale the nomination; but if they failed to agree on a single alternative, then Mondale would almost surely win. Although anti-Mondale Democrats shared a dislike of Mondale, they differed substantially in their preferred alternative.
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Don't rely on these old notes in lieu of reading the literature, but they can jog your memory. As a grad student long ago, my peers and I collaborated to write and exchange summaries of political science research. I posted them to a wiki-style website.
I cannot vouch for these notes' accuracy, nor can I even say who wrote them. If you have more recent summaries to add to this collection, send them my way I guess. Sorry for the ads; they cover the costs of keeping this online. It investigates the consequences of strategic coordination and those structural features that determine the nature of the coordination problems that political actors face in differing politics.
The book is concerned with strategic coordination both strategic entry and strategic voting in electoral systems. Following Duverger, successful coordination will reduce the number of electoral competitors. Main IVs are: electoral institutions, political motivations and public expectations.
Institutions mostly define the electoral coordination game. The analogy for electoral systems is the market: a hypothetical equilibrium exists with market clearing expectations which equate the demand of citizens and the supply of candidates. Main point of book is to "explain how different electoral laws affect the nature of market-clearing expectations and electoral coordination" 8. Duverger's Law: simple plurality rule favors a two-party system. Duverger's Hypothesis: simple plurality with second ballot and proportional representation favors multipartyism.
Critiques against Duverger and the institutionalist approach: 1 causal arrow is wrong and party systems actually determine electoral systems 2 from the political sociologists: party systems determined by number and type of social cleavages in society.
Cox hopes to synthesize both sociological and institutionalist approaches. Against the sociological approach, Cox shows that different electoral systems do produce different party systems even within the same country at the same time between elected upper and lower houses. Important question as to whether Duverger's Law applies to country-wide or district-level elections Cox deals with district level and whether applies to pre-entry or post-entry politics Cox deals with post-entry.
Voters will vote for either one of two candidates because of 1 strategic voting don't waste vote on unlikely winner or because 2 political elites only invest resources in serious candidates. Cox believes both explanations are important. Electoral system is a set of laws and party rules that regulate electoral competition between and within parties Chapter includes lots of terminology on types of voting and districts.
Plurality rules tend to lead towards a majority party in the legislature, while PR leads to more proportional results. Duvergerian equilibria: level of strategic voting undercuts support for all but two candidates. Non-Duvergerian equilibria: two or more candidates tied for second, so neither is discounted and more than two significant candidates are left in the field.
Duverger law assumes trailing third candidates are reduced to hard core support, all voters are short-term instrumentally rational, identity of front runners and trailers is known. With these assumptions, the model has severe limits. Duverger predicts that strategic voting will keep non-viable third-party candidates out of race strategic entry.
Cox adds two restrictions to this: 1 restriction of viability must be clear or else lots of candidates would enter and 2 politicians' goals must only concern winning current election. Party labels help a party's candidates and deter non-party candidates from seeking that party's votes parties serve as coordination mechanisms. The basic question is whether or not single member districts SMD encourage the emergence of two parties at the national level.
Cox finds that there is nothing in the logic of district-level electoral structure that allows one to conclude that there will be two parties nationally. There may be factors that push toward national bipartism, but these do not depend on district-level electoral structure. The motivation to form linkages across districts comes from the economies of scale that are necessary to become the president or prime minister.
National candidates need support from all over the country, and have a clear incentive to form with legislators in building support. Four factors affect how strong the incentives toward national bi-partisanism will be: 1. These variables determine whether SMDs will encourage convergence on two national parties.
The emergence of national parties changes the calculations of strategic voters, who now may use their votes not only to affect the outcome of the district election but also to affect the outcome of national issue e. When voters engage in nationally-oriented strategic voting, different voting behaviors may occur.
Three examples are given:. These chapters explore how coordination failures affect various aspects of democratic performance. When voters fail to coordinate, strengthening increases the degree of extremism possible.
Dominant Parties: Dominant parties are likely to occur when the ins are better at coordinating than the outs. An example is India where the centrist party gained power. The other parties where arrayed to the left and right of the centrist party, and found it difficult to coordinate with each other. More generally: some electoral systems create more difficult coordination problems than others.
The more difficult the coordination problems are, the more factors other than voters' preferences will matter in determining who gets seats. Realignment: Realignment can be thought of as a huge coordination game.
Realignment is less likely in strong low number of seats per district electoral systems because costs of failure are very high. But when realignment does happen, it is more consequential because only really important issues are big enough to force realignment.
Vote wasting: Voters that fail to coordinate waste their votes in several ways. One way is voting for a party that has no chance of winning. Another is voting for a party that is guaranteed to win.
In order to make votes count, coordination is required. When the upper bound is exceeded, there will be an incentive for voters to coordinate in reducing the number so as not to waste votes.
However, this assumes that voters are instrumentally rational care about who wins seats in their district at the present time and voters possess rational expectations can identify which ones are viable. Linkages: The number of legislative parties at the national level is best thought of as a joint product of legislative and executive electoral rules, both interacting with social cleavages.
Cox, Gary W. Wikisum home : Index of all summaries by title , by author , or by subject. Research by the same authors Cox and Katz: Why did the incumbency advantage in U. Quasi-Experimental Evidence from American State Legislatures Cox, Kousser, and McCubbins: What polarizes parties Cox: Electoral rules and electoral coordination Cox: The Efficient Secret Research on similar subjects Cox: Electoral rules and electoral coordination 5 shared tags Tavits: The development of stable party support 5 shared tags Ferree: The social origins of electoral volatility in Africa 4 shared tags Figueiredo and Limongi: Presidential power, legislative organization, and party behavior in Brazil 4 shared tags Levitsky and Cameron: Political parties and regime change in Fujimori's Peru 4 shared tags Mainwaring and Shugart: Presidentialism and Democracy in Latin America 4 shared tags Reilly: Democracy in divided societies 4 shared tags Samuels: Concurrent elections, discordant results 4 shared tags Tags Cox, Gary W.
"Making Votes Count" Abstract
Gary W. Popular elections are at the heart of representative democracy. Thus, understanding the laws and practices that govern such elections is essential to understanding modern democracy. In this book, Professor Cox views electoral laws as posing a variety of coordination problems that political actors must solve. Under plurality rule, for example, not every leftist aspirant for the presidency can run at once, if the Left is to have a good chance of winning.
Making Votes Count : Strategic Coordination in the World's Electoral Systems
Don't rely on these old notes in lieu of reading the literature, but they can jog your memory. As a grad student long ago, my peers and I collaborated to write and exchange summaries of political science research. I posted them to a wiki-style website. I cannot vouch for these notes' accuracy, nor can I even say who wrote them. If you have more recent summaries to add to this collection, send them my way I guess. Sorry for the ads; they cover the costs of keeping this online. It investigates the consequences of strategic coordination and those structural features that determine the nature of the coordination problems that political actors face in differing politics.