Are African party systems different?

Thomas Brambor, William Roberts Clark, Matt Golder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Recently Mozaffar et al. [Mozaffar, S., Scarritt, J.R., Galaich, G., 2003. Electoral institutions, ethnopolitical cleavages and party systems in Africa's emerging democracies. American Political Science Review 97, 379-390] presented evidence suggesting that African party systems are somehow different from party systems elsewhere in the world. In doing so, they promoted the common notion of African exceptionalism. We believe that their conclusions are open to question because they draw inferences from a number of multiplicative interaction models in which they do not include all constitutive terms, interpret constitutive terms as unconditional marginal effects, and fail to calculate marginal effects and standard errors over a sufficiently large range of their modifying variables. By correcting these practices, we reach substantively different conclusions. Specifically, we find that African party systems respond to institutional and sociological factors such as district magnitude and ethnic fragmentation in the same way as party systems in more established democracies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-323
Number of pages9
JournalElectoral Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Political Science and International Relations


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