Party Stability, Voting Cycles, and Convergence: Comparative Evidence

Ian Budge, Hans Keman, Michael McDonald and Paul Pennings

in Organizing Democratic Choice

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199654932
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741685 | DOI:

Series: Comparative Politics

Party Stability, Voting Cycles, and Convergence: Comparative Evidence

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This chapter considers the fit between Downsian representations and democratic reality. It also checks the internal consistency of the convergence argument when time is introduced as a factor, particularly in regard to the existence and continuity of political parties. A first question is whether party shares of the vote are unstable in the sense that an election rerun would substantially change the recorded result. This would be expected from Condorcet’s and Arrow’s critiques of majority voting but is ruled out by Downs whose theory is thus supported by the actual (low) incidence of instability in voting decisions. However the Downsian arguments then fall down for other reasons once time is introduced, both in regard to their own internal consistency (how could competing parties survive perpetual convergence?) and parties’ actual policy movements, which do not in fact show convergence.

Keywords: Downisan convergence; party divergence; party continuity; voting cycles; time

Chapter.  7489 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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