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Modeling Canadian Federal Electoral Reforms

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Author: Koch, Eric
This research project is focused on developing an exploratory model that can help explain the factors that affect the political desire for electoral reform. The model, premised on institutional and rational actor theories, develops a set of “endogenous” and “exogenous” factors that allow for evaluation of electoral reform discourse. While some attention is paid to the major reforms that the electoral system has undergone since Confederation, detailed analysis is reserved to the post-1980 period. Data was collected from party manifestos and Speeches from the Throne. Because the federal government has not made any structural changes to its electoral system, provincial and international electoral reforms are considered for the potential influence by “contagion”. Institutional barriers to reform are also factored into the model. Lastly, the model introduces the element of developing web-based technologies such as social media that are changing how the electorate is exerting its influence on the federal parties. From 1980 to 2015, what factors and influences, both endogenous and exogenous to Canada’s national political framework, have affected parliamentary debates on electoral reform?
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