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Scott Mainwaring and Edurne Zoco, "Political Sequences and the Stabilization of Interparty Competition: Electoral Volatility in Old and New Democracies," Party Politics, 13 (March 2007), 155-178.

First paragraph:
In his classic work, Giovanni Sartori (1976) argued that one of the key developments in democratic politics was the emergence of an institutionalized ('consolidated' in his terminology) party system. We agree with that judgment. Concern with party system institutionalization and its consequences has grown in the past decade (Mainwaring and Scully, 1995).

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Electoral volatility in 47 countries
Table 2. Determinants of electoral volatility
Table 3. Mean deviation from countries' mean electoral volatility by electoral period after the inauguration of democracy
Table 4. Correlations of electoral volatility for the first seven electoral period safter the inauguration of democracy

Last Paragraph:
Finally, our analysis supports claims about the importance of sequences and path dependence in political processes. Most advocates of such arguments have employed qualitative methods. There are, however, powerful advantages to testing hypotheses about historical sequences through quantitative methods, as we have done here. Claims about the effects of path dependence and historical sequences that are based solely on qualitative evidence are often less rigorous than is optimal. Testing through quantitative methods allows for better assessment of competing hypotheses and for a better evaluation of the magnitude of effects. For this reason, quantitative testing can enrich the analysis of historical sequences and path dependence. The reverse is also true: thinking about historical sequences is necessary for a quantitative analysis of some important issues. Without considering timing and sequence, quantitative scholars would misspecify some equations and fail to understand some causal processes.

last updated February 2007