French Politics

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 126–130

Is Duverger’s law valid?

  • André Blais
Review Article

DOI: 10.1057/fp.2015.24

Cite this article as:
Blais, A. Fr Polit (2016) 14: 126. doi:10.1057/fp.2015.24


I show that, contrary to Duverger’s law, three or four parties receive at least 5 per cent of the votes in most districts in British and Canadian elections. This is so because the voters and the parties are not necessarily short-term utility maximizers as the theory assumes. Still, the basic intuition that fewer parties obtain significant support under single-member district plurality elections is absolutely correct. Duverger also makes an important contribution instressing the impact of electoral formulas, a fruitful antidote to the exclusive emphasis that recent research has given to district magnitude.


Duverger electoral formula district magnitude plurality electoral system 

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • André Blais
    • 1
  1. 1.Département de science politique, Université de MontréalMontréal (Québec)Canada

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