Res Publica - Journal of Undergraduate Research


Scholars today mostly agree that party system institutionalization (PSI) is a key ingredient in the transition to a functioning democracy. The question of whether PSI matters is more or less resolved. What is less clear is a general theory of what can help new democracies reach a high level of PSI. The aim of this research is to discover the pre-conditions and elite choices that enhance the level of PSI in new democracies. This research uses two Most Different System designs to explore the results of ten hypotheses that test the relationship between the level of PSI and an array of independent variables in country cases across the globe. Analyses reveal that there is no single magic variable or even a single set of factors that reliably lead to PSI across cases. What does emerge is the importance of elite behavior and choices during the initial regime change.