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Party System Volatility in Post-Communist Europe

  • Charles Crabtree and Matt Golder


In their 2014 article in the British Journal of Political Science, Eleanor Neff Powell and Joshua A. Tucker examine the determinants of party system volatility in post-communist Europe. Their central conclusion is that replacement volatility – volatility caused by new party entry and old party exit – is driven by long-term economic performance. This article shows that this conclusion is based entirely on a miscalculation of the long-term economic performance of a single country, Bosnia-Herzegovina. The study’s reanalysis suggests that little is known about what causes party system volatility in post-communist Europe. Given the negative consequences traditionally associated with party system volatility, this area of research cries out for new theoretical development.



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Pennsylvania State University, Department of Political Science (emails:, We thank Sarah Birch, Chris Fariss, Sona Nadenichek Golder and Daniel Mallinson for their helpful comments on this article. We also thank Eleanor Powell, Joshua Tucker and Grigore Pop-Eleches for providing data and comments during the replication process. All data and computer code necessary to verify the results in this analysis will be made publicly available at and after publication. Stata 12 and R 3.1.0 were the statistical packages used in this study. Data replication sets are available at



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Party System Volatility in Post-Communist Europe

  • Charles Crabtree and Matt Golder


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