Electoral Rules and the Calculus of Mobilization
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIV:387-419

In this essay, I consider how electoral laws affect parties’ mobilizational incentives and, hence, turnout. The strategy is to look systematically at how differing electoral rules affect the translations from effort-to-votes, votes-to-seats, and seats-to-portfolios, and hence, parties’ incentives to mobilize. Considering each of these steps in turn leads us to many of the most important extant claims about how electoral institutions affect turnout. Such an approach also underscores that, even by a purely instrumental calculus, both social structure and political context are directly relevant to explaining mobilization (hence, turnout).

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