Social cleavages, electoral reform and party choice: Israel's 'natural' experiment

Robert Andersen, Meir Yaish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper examines party preferences in Israel from 1993 to 1999. This period provides a unique 'natural' experiment in that the middle was marked by a change from a single-ballot party list to a two-ballot system that included direct election of the Prime Minister. The paper has two goals: (1) to explore the patterns of social cleavage voting in Israel during this period; and (2) to determine whether the change in the electoral system in 1996 affected these patterns. Contrary to the findings of previous research - most of which used ad hoc measures of social class - our results indicate that party choice was significantly related to social class. Moreover, the effects of ethnicity, class and religiosity on party preferences were strong and fairly constant throughout the period, suggesting that the change in electoral system had little impact on the party/cleavage relationship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-423
Number of pages25
JournalElectoral Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Electoral reform
  • Israeli society
  • Social cleavages
  • Voting behaviour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations


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