Do electoral reforms tend to favour the incumbents?

Patkós, Veronika ORCID: and Stump, Árpád (2022) Do electoral reforms tend to favour the incumbents? Acta Politica . DOI

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Electoral reforms ofer an opportunity to incumbents to change the rules strategically, for their own benefts. From this aspect, the low number of studies addressing the efect of incumbents’ potential strategic manipulations of the electoral rules is striking. Most research analyses single reform cases, ofering an overview of the context, the negotiations, and the outcome of the reform process. Comparative research on strategic electoral manipulation, however, is scarce, and almost nonexistent on non-transitional settings or established democracies. To fll this gap, the present study examines whether European electoral reforms have served the shortterm interest of the incumbent parties, analysing data in 30 European countries of all relevant electoral reforms carried out between 1960 and 2011. Interestingly, the results do not support the assumption that incumbent parties generally beneft from carrying out a reform. Moreover, it fnds no substantial diferences in this regard between major and minor reforms, and neither the age of democracies nor the timing of the reform has a signifcant efect on reformers’ gains. The paper discusses possible explanations for the negative efect found, and it concludes that, apart from promoting self-interest and the unpredictability of the reforms’ efects, the most probable causes are the reformers’ alternative goals.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:electoral reforms, electioneering, incumbent, Europe, quantitative
Subjects:Political science
ID Code:7283
Deposited By: MTMT SWORD
Deposited On:23 Mar 2022 09:48
Last Modified:23 Mar 2022 09:48

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