The article examines how the structure of party systems, that is, effective number of political actors, electoral volatility, and shares of dominant party votes and seats, affect the initiation and direction of electoral reform in post-communist democracies. Based on a dataset of electoral rule changes in post-communist democracies from 1992 to 2008, we analyze the frequency and direction of reforms over time. The findings reveal that the frequency of reforms declines with successive electoral cycles but not to the degree suggested by theories of institutional inertia. Countries with high levels of voter volatility are more likely to engage in reforms; however, the findings in this article demonstrate that politicians react to volatility by inconsistently choosing between permissive and restrictive responses.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.