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Labor movements and party system development: Why does the Caribbean have stable two-party systems, but the Pacific does not?

Labor movements and party system development: Why does the Caribbean have stable two-party systems, but the Pacific does not?
Labor movements and party system development: Why does the Caribbean have stable two-party systems, but the Pacific does not?
Party system development is often said to be essential for democratization. But if this is a necessary precondition, why do two of the most successful developing regions in terms of democratization, the Caribbean and the Pacific, which are composed similarly of small (island) developing states, display such extreme divergence in their experiences with party democracy? The former has the most stable and pure two-party systems in the world, while in the latter political parties are either weakly institutionalized or absent. Since both have attitudinally homogenous societies and similar institutions, conventional explanations that highlight the importance of social cleavages and electoral systems cannot explain this difference. Employing the framework of a most similar systems design incorporating twenty-three countries, we challenge dominant assumptions about the causes of party system development (PSD) and subsequent institutionalization (PSI) by focusing on their distinctive post-colonial political-economic settlements. Specifically, we process trace the role of labor movements and their manifestation as political parties and argue that this provides the strongest explanation for why the Caribbean has stable party systems, but the Pacific does not. By emphasizing the importance of pre-existing social organizations for the development of parties, our analysis foregrounds the otherwise largely neglected literature on early European party organization and the role of political economy in PSD.
0305-750X
Bishop, Matthew
825c359b-0c0c-4be1-8d28-d3557eaccca2
Corbett, Jack
ad651655-ac70-4072-a36f-92165e296ce2
Veenendaal, Wouter
230cf0c6-70cb-465d-8664-2ec9798bcdb0
Bishop, Matthew
825c359b-0c0c-4be1-8d28-d3557eaccca2
Corbett, Jack
ad651655-ac70-4072-a36f-92165e296ce2
Veenendaal, Wouter
230cf0c6-70cb-465d-8664-2ec9798bcdb0

Bishop, Matthew, Corbett, Jack and Veenendaal, Wouter (2020) Labor movements and party system development: Why does the Caribbean have stable two-party systems, but the Pacific does not? World Development, 126, [104719]. (doi:10.1016/j.worlddev.2019.104719).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Party system development is often said to be essential for democratization. But if this is a necessary precondition, why do two of the most successful developing regions in terms of democratization, the Caribbean and the Pacific, which are composed similarly of small (island) developing states, display such extreme divergence in their experiences with party democracy? The former has the most stable and pure two-party systems in the world, while in the latter political parties are either weakly institutionalized or absent. Since both have attitudinally homogenous societies and similar institutions, conventional explanations that highlight the importance of social cleavages and electoral systems cannot explain this difference. Employing the framework of a most similar systems design incorporating twenty-three countries, we challenge dominant assumptions about the causes of party system development (PSD) and subsequent institutionalization (PSI) by focusing on their distinctive post-colonial political-economic settlements. Specifically, we process trace the role of labor movements and their manifestation as political parties and argue that this provides the strongest explanation for why the Caribbean has stable party systems, but the Pacific does not. By emphasizing the importance of pre-existing social organizations for the development of parties, our analysis foregrounds the otherwise largely neglected literature on early European party organization and the role of political economy in PSD.

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Labor Movements and Party System Development MANUSCRIPT Resubmission Oct 2019 JC citations - Accepted Manuscript
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Accepted/In Press date: 11 October 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 9 November 2019
Published date: February 2020

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Local EPrints ID: 435136
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/435136
ISSN: 0305-750X
PURE UUID: 883cf2ee-667c-411c-9c82-1e2e19ea929b
ORCID for Jack Corbett: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2005-7162

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Date deposited: 23 Oct 2019 16:30
Last modified: 07 Oct 2020 02:08

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Author: Matthew Bishop
Author: Jack Corbett ORCID iD
Author: Wouter Veenendaal

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