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Reilly: Democracy in divided societies

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Reilly. 2001. Democracy in divided societies: Electoral engineering for conflict management. New York: Cambridge University Press.

In Brief

Moser argued that an inchoate party system ("inchoate" is from Mainwaring and Scully 1995) does not satisfy Cox's (1997 and 1999) assumptions--and if the assumptions aren't satisfied, then Cox's theory (M+1, etc., does not apply).

The alternative vote (ranked preferences) was used before independence from Australia in Papua New Guinea. The AV created incentives for a clan's candidate to campaign for the second-choice of other clans. This encouraged formation of larger political blocs. At independence, however, AV was dropped in favor of first-past-the-post. With FPTP, no consolidation occurs. True, we might expect consolidation (based on Cox), but there can't be consolidation if there aren't parties in the first place that can consolidate (see Moser). Thus, the inchoate party system remains weak, and there are too many candidates in each district (bad coordination). In Cox's terms, votes don't count.

Reilly, then, seems to agree with Moser (implicitly): Before we can expect Cox's mechanisms to work, we need to create a stable party system. And the mechanism that induces consolidation into a stable party system (AV for Reilly, PR for Moser) might be different from the mechanism that induces consolidation into fewer parties (FPTP in SMDs for Cox).

Place in Literature

See Moser (1999).