Electoral Systems: Assessing the Cross-Sectional Time-Series Data Sources
In this paper we compare and assess four freely available cross-sectional time-series data sets in terms of their information on the ballot structure, district structure and formula of the electoral system in use for lower house and, if relevant, upper house and presidential elections. The four datasets evaluated are Golder (2005), the Database of Political Institutions (Beck et al. 2001; Keefer 2005), Persson and Tabellini (2003) and Johnson and Wallack (2006). We find that the choice of data source matters for conclusions drawn on the consequences of electoral systems for both party systems and corruption, but that no data source can be given prominence over the other on methodological grounds. Students of electoral systems must thus, in the future, make their results sensitive to the choice of data source.
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