- Decentralization and the development of nationalized party systems in new democracies: evidence from Latin America
- Comparative Political Studies
- Volume | Issue number
- 43 | 5
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
The extent to which a party system is nationalized—with nationalization being defined as the degree to which major political parties obtain similar vote shares throughout the national territory—has considerable consequences for political representation, public policy making, and even the survival of democracy. Yet, so far there is little empirical evidence about the conditions that promote or inhibit the development of nationalized party systems in new democracies. Using electoral data from 89 elections in 16 Latin American democracies, this article provides a systematic analysis of the effect of decentralization on party system nationalization. The results show that political decentralization and fiscal decentralization inhibit the development of nationalized party systems, thus suggesting that a trade-off exists between decentralized governance and party system nationalization. These results are robust when controlling for ethnolinguistic fractionalization and characteristics of the electoral system.
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