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Annu. Rev. Polit. Sci. 1999. 2:24367Copyright 1999 by Annual Reviews. All rights reservedAnnu. Rev. Polit. Sci. 1999.2:243-267. Downloaded from arjournals.annualreviews.orgby University of Arizona Library on 01/10/09. For personal use only.POLITICAL PARTIES ANDDEMOCRACYS. C. StokesDepartment of Political Science, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637;e-mail: s-stokes@uchicago.eduKEY WORDS: political parties, democracy, responsiveness, representation, electionsABSTRACTA central claim of democratic theory is that democracy induces governmentsto be responsive to the preferences of the people. Political parties organizepolitics in every modern democracy, and some observers claim that partiesare what induce democracies to be responsive. Yet, according to others, parties give voice to extremists and reduce the responsiveness of governmentsto the citizenry. The debate about parties and democracy takes on renewedimportance as new democracies around the globe struggle with issues of representation and governability. I show that our view of the impact of partieson democratic responsiveness hinges on what parties aretheir objectivesand organization. I review competing theories of parties, sketch their testableimplications, and note the empirical findings that may help adjudicate amongthese theories. I also review debates about the origins of parties, about thedeterminants of party-system size and characteristics, and about party competition.Po

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