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Predicting Party SizesThe Logic of Simple Electoral Systems$
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Rein Taagepera

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199287741

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199287741.001.0001

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The Number and Balance of Parties

The Number and Balance of Parties

(p.47) 4 The Number and Balance of Parties
Predicting Party Sizes

Rein Taagepera (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

When some parties have many seats and some have few, we need a meaningful ‘effective’ number of parties so as to compare the effects of electoral systems on party systems. The standard way to express the effective number of parties is to convert to fractional seat shares, square them, add, and take the inverse. The same can be done with fractional vote shares. This method is not ideal, but all others are worse. Effective number of parties can be complemented by a measure of balance in party sizes.

Keywords:   balance in party sizes, electoral systems, party systems, fractional seat shares, fractional vote shares

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