In this paper, we examine the effects of electoral system reform in Italy and Japan, trying to assess whether and to what extent these outcomes – that is, the lack of change in certain key areas of party politics – were in fact “unintended,” “unanticipated,” or even “unpredictable.” We argue that it was unrealistic to expect so much from electoral reform for five principal reasons. First, in general it is reasonable to expect outcomes that flow most directly from the incentives created by electoral rules, but the outcomes that many saw as a “failure” of electoral reform in Italy and Japan involved features of politics that flow only indirectly from electoral law. Second, electoral reform was ultimately passed by legislators who often had goals contrary to those of objective observers. Third, the focus of most analysis of the new electoral systems was on the “major” features of the new rules – in particular, the combination of SMD and PR tiers in one legislature – but each system also contained other, less “high profile” details that impacted politics. Fourth, electoral rules can impact politics in numerous important ways, but for many of the “failures” of electoral reform, non-electoral system factors were at least as important. Fifth, considering non-electoral system factors, we find tentative, but provocative, evidence that the level of party competition might have played an important part in shaping some of the disappointing outcomes of reform in Italy and Japan.

Electoral Reform in Italy and Japan. Unanticipated Outcomes?

TRONCONI, FILIPPO
2010

Abstract

In this paper, we examine the effects of electoral system reform in Italy and Japan, trying to assess whether and to what extent these outcomes – that is, the lack of change in certain key areas of party politics – were in fact “unintended,” “unanticipated,” or even “unpredictable.” We argue that it was unrealistic to expect so much from electoral reform for five principal reasons. First, in general it is reasonable to expect outcomes that flow most directly from the incentives created by electoral rules, but the outcomes that many saw as a “failure” of electoral reform in Italy and Japan involved features of politics that flow only indirectly from electoral law. Second, electoral reform was ultimately passed by legislators who often had goals contrary to those of objective observers. Third, the focus of most analysis of the new electoral systems was on the “major” features of the new rules – in particular, the combination of SMD and PR tiers in one legislature – but each system also contained other, less “high profile” details that impacted politics. Fourth, electoral rules can impact politics in numerous important ways, but for many of the “failures” of electoral reform, non-electoral system factors were at least as important. Fifth, considering non-electoral system factors, we find tentative, but provocative, evidence that the level of party competition might have played an important part in shaping some of the disappointing outcomes of reform in Italy and Japan.
Atti del Congresso Annuale dell'American Political Science Association, Washington, DC, 2-5 settembre 2010 reperibili su SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1641676
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E. Scheiner; F. Tronconi
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/94646
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