The endogenous change in electoral systems: The case of SNTV
AbstractElectoral systems shape party systems by constraining voters’ choices, but the choices voters make may also compel political parties to change the electoral system. Thus, an electoral system changes endogenously if the voters’ choices it induces vary over time, and political parties are motivated by the voters’ new choices to modify the electoral system. This article applies this logic to explain the change in the single non-transferable vote (SNTV) system. When SNTV fosters the formation of a dominant-party system, the ruling party needs to maintain steady economic growth so that enough resources can be turned into private goods to satisfy the majority of voters. But economic growth necessarily increases the anonymity of the voters, and hence the difficulty for the dominant party to garner votes using this strategy. The demise of one-party dominance and the shift in government power then urge some parties to replace SNTV with other electoral systems. This hypothesis is confirmed by the electoral reforms in Japan and Taiwan.