Politics of the Low Countries


Appendix Using Process-Tracing to Evaluate Competing Accounts of Proportional Representation in Belgium

Keywords proportional representation, Belgium, institutional change, electoral threat, extra-institutional threat, protest mobilisation
Authors Nina Barzachka
Author's information

Nina Barzachka
Nina Barzachka is Assistant Professor of Political Science, College of the Holy Cross, MA, US.
  • Abstract

      Analyses of the historical origins of proportional representation (PR) in Belgium have helped shed light on the origins of electoral systems in Western Europe. Nevertheless, debates over what exactly led to the introduction of PR in Belgium persist. Was it electoral threat, Left existential threat or a combination of these two factors? This article applies the completeness standard for process-tracing and employs theoretical insights from the institutional change literature to evaluate these explanations. It re-examines the historical sources used by the extant scholarship of the Belgian case. It finds that both extra-institutional threat and electoral threat fluctuated over time, interacted with one another and mattered during different points of the electoral system reform process. In 1899, when pure PR was finally introduced, both of these factors played a role.

Please sign in to access the article

Did you receive an activation code but no access yet? Please activate your code here.

Forgot your password? Request new password.

Purchase access

You can purchase online access to this article. You will receive 24 hrs access @ € 17,50 (excl. VAT).

24 hrs access € 17,50 (excl. VAT)

Activate your code

If you have an access code, please activate it here.