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Misa Nishikawa, "Electoral and party system effects on ruling party durability," Party Politics, 18 (September 2012), 633-652. [Available at http://ppq.sagepub.com/content/vol18/issue5/ ]

First paragraph:
Research on political stability is one of the most fundamental subject areas for political scientists. Given its importance, there are a great number of studies on the subject matter and these cover a wide area of political stability, including democratic stability, leadership stability and cabinet stability. Although these studies show valuable findings with significant contributions, there is still one important omission. Scholars thus far have not paid much attention to what accounts for ruling party stability (Maeda and Nishikawa, 2006). On the one hand, countries, such as Italy are often portrayed as having unstable politics because of the frequency of cabinet termination. Italy had 56 cabinets between 1946 and 1993. Politics in countries of this type are usually considered problematic, since these cabinets might be incapable of implementing policy effectively. On the other hand, overstability also describes the characteristics of Italian politics. The Christian Democratic Party (CDP) led the coalition governments between 1948 and 1992 as the dominant party. Consequently, it can be considered too stable. Moreover, according to Mershon (1996), the causes of government and ruling party stability are different. Israel, Japan and Sweden are other examples in which the same party ruled for a long period of time. Indeed, some scholars question the qualities of their democracies. In particular, the accountability of these parties is questionable. These cases underline the importance of studying ruling party stability.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Countries in analysis
Table 2. Means and standard deviations
Table 3a. Coefficients for duration models (electoral rules)
Table 3b. Coefficients for duration models (party systems)
Figure 1a. Baseline hazard functions (electoral rules)
Figure 1b. Baseline hazard functions (party systems)

Last Paragraph:
Although this study attempts to exhaust all the explanatory factors, more studies are necessary to improve our knowledge of ruling party stability. For example, this study does not explore how other areas of political stability influence ruling party stability. First, it is possible that government stability influences ruling party stability. Pelizzo and Cooper (2002) suggest that legislative party stability causes government instability. The opposite direction of causality may also be present. Second, international and civil wars may exert some effects on the survival of ruling parties. Many studies on American public opinion, for example, report the presence of the 'rally-round-the-flag' effect (Erikson and Tedin, 2007). The involvement in international conflicts may help ruling parties to stay in power longer. Ruling party durability, as a subject, should be explored more in future studies.

Last updated August 2012