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Takayuki Sakamoto, "Explaining Electoral Reform: Japan versus Italy and New Zealand," Party Politics, 5 (October 1999), 419-438.

First Paragraph:
Changing electoral systems is not easy. Politicians have difficulty modifying the system under which they have been elected. Large transitional costs accompany a shift from one system to another; politicians will need to invest in new campaigning, and a new system will introduce uncertainty about their electoral prospects, possibly even endangering their re-election. Politicians will also need to overcome the transaction costs of securing a legislative majority for reform; pro-reformers will need to override opposition by antireform politicians. Further, agreement on one particular system is difficult as different electoral needs will lead politicians to advocate different systems.

Figures and Tables:
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Last Paragraph:
Lastly, suggestions for future research are made. The findings of this study are circumscribed by the small number of observed cases and their selection based on the dependent variable; it treated only three cases and included only those of successful reform. We still know little about the causes of electoral reform. In order to gain more valid and generalizable inferences, we need to study cases in which the dependent variable takes different values -- where debates about reform or reform movements did not lead to the legislation of reform or led to more modest reform, or where electoral reform is not even on the agenda, despite the presence of symptoms of system failure that have led to reform movements in other countries. We also need a systematic analysis of more countries that have variations in explanatory variables so that we can see the effects of those variables more clearly and eliminate alternative explanatory variables. Accumulation of empirical data will help us gain greater insights into the causes of electoral reform and the behaviour of politicians and parties.