Multiparty Democracy: Elections and Legislative Politics. By Norman Schofield and Itai Sened. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006. 248p. $70.00 cloth, $24.99 paper.
The elegant median voter result of the Downsian model of electoral competition—which suggests that in order to maximize votes, parties move towards the ideological center—does not entirely translate into multiparty systems. To begin with, as Charles Plott (“A Notion of Equilibrium and Its Possibility under Majority Rule,” American Economic Review 57 [no. 4, 1967]: 787–806) shows, an equilibrium generally does not exist in multidimensional spaces. Moreover, Gary Cox (“Centripetal and Centrifugal Incentives in Electoral Systems,” American Journal of Political Science 34 [no. 4, 1987]: 903–35) demonstrates that if an equilibrium does exist in multicandidate contests, then they must be noncentrist. But multiparty politics are even more complex, as one must consider which coalition will govern following the election and what policy it will implement. These considerations may in turn affect the voters' strategies and the parties' choice of platforms.
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