With a focus on Latin America, this literature review considers the extent to which electoral systems affect different aspects of parties and party systems. We find that standard electoral system variables fail many empirical tests that try to tie them to any facet of parties or party systems. Still, methodological considerations regarding interactions with party strategies, party organization, and many contextual variables loom large, so we cannot reject the hypothesis that electoral systems are influential. Analyses, therefore, must go far beyond formal electoral rules generally or a simple focus on single aspects of electoral rules (such as the district magnitude) when trying to explain political behaviors.
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