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date: 27 November 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Most research into electoral systems focuses on their effects. Only recently has a significant literature emerged examining how they are chosen. This chapter explores four core issues in that literature. First, it considers what is meant by “electoral system change.” This can refer to changes of any scale to any electoral rules in any context, but typically—including here—a narrower definition is used. Second, the chapter investigates what electoral system changes happen. It considers the frequency of reforms and patterns in those reforms. Third, it examines the determinants of electoral system change. Most studies focus on the microfoundations of reform. Others highlight the systemic level. Both perspectives are needed to develop a complete picture. Finally, the chapter gauges the effects of electoral system change and assesses why such changes, notwithstanding important effects, often fail to deliver on their promoters’ expectations.

Keywords: electoral reform, electoral system change, first past the post, interparty, intraparty, personalization, proportional representation

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