Coevolution of capitalism and political representation: The choice of electoral systems
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Protocorporatist West European countries in which economic interests were collectively organized adopted PR in the first quarter of the twentieth century, whereas liberal countries in which economic interests were not collectively organized did not. Political parties, as Marcus Kreuzer points out, choose electoral systems. So how do economic interests translate into party political incentives to adopt electoral reform? We argue that parties in protocorporatist countries were representative of and closely linked to economic interests. As electoral competition in single member districts increased sharply up to World War I, great difficulties resulted for the representative parties whose leaders were seen as interest committed. They could not credibly compete for votes outside their interest without leadership changes or reductions in interest influence. Proportional representation offered an obvious solution, allowing parties to target their own voters and their organized interest to continue effective influence in the legislature. In each respect, the opposite was true of liberal countries. Data on party preferences strongly confirm this model. (Kreuzer's historical criticisms are largely incorrect, as shown in detail in the online supplementary Appendix.). © 2010 American Political Science Association.
Published Version (Please cite this version)10.1017/S0003055410000134
Publication InfoCusack, T; Iversen, T; & Soskice, D (2010). Coevolution of capitalism and political representation: The choice of electoral systems. American Political Science Review, 104(2). pp. 393-403. 10.1017/S0003055410000134. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/3967.
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Research Professor Emeritus of the Department of Political Science
David Soskice is Research Professor of Political Science at Duke University. And he is Research Professor of Comparative Political Economy at Oxford University and Senior Research Fellow of Nuffield College. He was Director of the Research Institute for Economic Change and Employment at the Wissenschaftszentrum für Socialforschung in Berlin (WZB)from 1990 to 2001; and School Centennial Professor of European Political Economy at the London School of Economics from 2004 to 2007. He did his underg