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Shlomit Barnea and Gideon Rahat, "Reforming Candidate Selection Methods: A Three-Level Approach," Party Politics, 13 (May 2007), 375-394.

First paragraph:
Institutions are usually perceived as bastions of stability, supplying rules for power allocation that create stable incentives for certain behaviours in a complex and stormy reality. This study focuses on the other side of the coin, suggesting a systematic approach for studying the politics of reform of a certain kind of democratic institution, i.e. candidate selection methods.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Reform of candidate selection methods: an analytical framework
Figure 1. Israeli parties' selectorates: 1949-2003
Figure 2. Competitiveness in the party system 1949-2003*
Table 2. Events and the adoption of significant changes/reforms
Table 3. Events in the background of unsuccessful reform initiatives
Table 3. Events in the background of unsuccessful reform initiatives

Last Paragraph:
It was found that the frequency of reform in candidate selection methods increases when both external and internal environments become more competitive. The phenomenon of electoral reform, the national, senior parallel institution, is not part of intensified competition per se, and it occurs in circumstances of a wholesale rearrangement of political power. These differences suggest that the question of the chicken and the egg--do vested interests create institutions or do institutions create such interests?--is actually a question of different scales rather than kind. That is, some institutions are almost exclusively creators of incentives, power maps, while other, more flexible, institutions are better integrated into the game of power relationship and are thus often the effects of power games rather than their causes. Candidate selection methods seem to be somewhere in between; that is, they are generally stable determinants of the rules of the game, but nevertheless change frequently enough to sometimes become a part of the game. Our study shows that the level of stability of a given institution varies over time, and thus should be treated some of the time as a determinant of the rules of the games and at other times as a part of it.

last updated June 2007