Why Do Party Systems Tend to Be So Stable?
The purpose of this research note is to demonstrate the usefulness of rational choice models in making party‐system stability intelligible. First, the ‘problem of collective action among potential party‐entrepreneurs’ makes it puzzling that new political parties emerge at all. Secondly, if the original collective‐action problem is overcome somehow, the ‘problem of voter coordination’ makes it hard for new parties to attract voters. Finally, established competitors have incentives and resources to hold newcomers back. I conclude by maintaining that simple, well‐known rational choice models explain the empirical observation by Lipset and Rokkan (1967) that party systems tend to be ‘frozen’. Instead, the genuinely puzzling thing is why new political parties emerge and gain support at all.
Erlingsson, G.Ó. (2009). ”Why Do Party Systems Tend to Be So Stable? A Review of Rationalist’s Contributions.” Bifröst Journal of Social Science, 3.