Party System, Electoral Systems and Constraints on Corruption
This article explores the relationship between the party system, electoral formula and corruption. Previous research has focused on the various incentives for political actors to monitor, or engage in corruption based on variations in the electoral formula. However, the electoral formal has mainly served as a proxy for the party system – whether multiparty or two-party. In this analysis, I test directly the relationship between party systems and corruption and in addition, add a degree of nuance to the established line of thinking within this literature. I argue that two-party systems in countries with predominantly single-member district (SMD) electoral formulas will demonstrate lower corruption on average than multiparty systems in SMD countries. However, I argue that this effect does not play out in countries with proportional representation (PR). I test this hypothesis on 70 democratic and semi-democratic countries from 1987-2006 and find strong empirical support for the claim that multipartism in SMD countries is associated with higher levels of corruption, while the party system’s relationship with corruption plays no role in PR countries.
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