Where to count parties

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To evaluate theories about the impact of electoral law on party systems, it is useful to have an indicator of exactly how many parties are competitive in a given election. Several formulae convert the vote shares won by multiple parties into single number-of-parties indices. While these formulae are typically applied to national vote shares, it is often more revealing to examine constituency-level data. For some purposes, the calculated value for the number-of-parties-in-the-nation is a poor substitute for a fuller description of how many parties or candidates exist, constituency by constituency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-58
Number of pages10
JournalElectoral Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1997


  • Competition indices
  • Electoral districts
  • Party systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations


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