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date: 20 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Historical institutionalism is central to the study of political parties because party creation, competition, and adaptation are fundamentally processes structured over time. In these processes, time and sequence frequently are necessary components of causal arguments in understanding contemporary political outcomes. An historical approach to party politics highlights how, in particular moments, agency and contingency can generate long-term legacies, whereas in other moments party systems are resilient to elite attempts to re-order competition. Historical institutionalist arguments identify the mechanisms that sustain particular outcomes over time, and demonstrate when change occurs, according to which constraints, opportunities, and antecedent conditions.

Keywords: political parties, party systems, political regimes, social cleavages, political systems

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