Sabancı Üniversitesi


SPS Seminar Series: Daniel Kselman (Duke University)


Sabancı University

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Social and Political Science Seminars



"Proportional Representation & Political Conflict"




Daniel Kselman
Ph.D Candidate, Duke University


Thursday, 5 June 2008


13.30 – 15:30




Authors in a variety of settings have argued that proportional representation (PR) electoral institutions help to reduce political conflict in tense political situations. Such studies generally rest on two implicit assumptions, namely that elections are party-centered and that the political-cleavage structures which define electoral campaigns are relatively fixed and
predictable. This paper develops a game theoretic framework which endogenizes a country's mode of accountability, demonstrating that the party-centered competition implicit in previous research emerges only under closed-list proportional representation. Furthermore, we argue that this party-centrism has potentially deleterious consequences in country's whose political-cleavage structures are subject to short-term variation, and propose a particular from of open-list proportional representation as the most suitable institutional alternative for peace and stability in fluid political environments. Historical evidence detailing parallel cycles of party system concentration and political conflict in Turkey provide a suggestive narrative in support of the paper's  basic claims.