The United States: A Case of Duvergerian Equilibrium

  • Shaun Bowler
  • Bernard Grofman
  • André Blais
Part of the Studies in Public Choice book series (SIPC, volume 13)

Although Duverger‧s law seems to apply but only with limitations and qualifications in the other major democracies, it appears to work perfectly in the USA. There are four main reasons why this should be so.

First, the political system is oriented toward national politics and toward the contest for the presidency, a trend that has been especially noticeable from the New Deal era onward. Chhibber and Kollman (1998) have argued that the more centralized a federal system is the more likely it is to exhibit comparable levels of competition at the national as at the state level. This work would suggest that we ought to expect competition at the state level under the same party labels as the national party as the USA has grown more centralized. Last, but far from least, the peculiar nature of the US Electoral College, with its 50 separate winner-take-all elections for the presidency, may make a substantial impact in reinforcing incentives for two-party competition at the national level (Neto...


Primary System Vote Share Electoral College Legislative Election Seat Share 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shaun Bowler
    • 1
  • Bernard Grofman
    • 2
  • André Blais
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of California, RiversideUSA
  2. 2.School of Social SciencesUniversity of California, IrvineUSA
  3. 3.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of MontréalCanada

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