Bridging the Divide: Measuring Party System Change and Classifying Party Systems

Riccardo Pelizzo, Zim Nwokora

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Party systems research has proceeded along two parallel lines of inquiry, one predominantly “qualitative” and the other “quantitative.” This article attempts to bridge this divide in two ways. First, by showing that qualitative information can be valuable in the construction of quantitative measures. Second, by showing that the results from applying theoretically sensitive measurement tools can be useful for qualitative classification. These analyses are performed using an original dataset of party system changes in Sub-Saharan Africa. Related Articles: Nwokora, Zim, and Riccardo Pelizzo. 2015. “The Political Consequences of Party System Change.” Politics & Policy 43 (4): 453-473. Tusalem, Rollin F. 2016. “The Effect of Historical Pact Making and Civic Associations on Democratic Outcomes.” Politics & Policy 44 (4): 712-750. Vercesi, Michelangelo. 2016. “Coalition Politics and Inter-Party Conflict Management: A Theoretical Framework.” Politics & Policy 44 (2): 168-219. Related Media: Guardian. “Democracy in Africa: 5 Myths Explored.” CNN. “Africa's Rocky Road to Democracy.”

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1017-1052
Number of pages36
JournalPolitics and Policy
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2016


  • Attributes
  • Classification
  • Classifying Party Systems
  • Index of Fluidity
  • Interparty Competition
  • Party System Change
  • Party System Stability
  • Political Institutions
  • Political Parties
  • Qualitative Information
  • Qualitative-Quantitative Divide
  • Quantitative Measures
  • Social Science Methods
  • Sub-Saharan Africa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

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