Christopher L. Carter.
Party System Erosion: Evidence from Peru.
Weakly institutionalized party systems are a defining feature of third-wave democracies.
Yet, in some countries, like Peru, party weakness is not a static equilibrium but rather part of a
dynamic process of “party system erosion” in which weak parties become weaker over time as independents
come to dominate subnational posts. As I argue, party system erosion is driven by a particular configuration
of institutional factors—weak party brands, low barriers to ballot access, and limited partisan control over
resource distribution during and after campaigns. These institutional features increase the likelihood that
experienced candidates will run as independents. When these candidates are elected, experience enables them to
obtain more intergovernmental discretionary transfers. The superior in-office performance of experienced,
independent officials further weakens party brands, leading fewer and fewer experienced candidates to run
with parties. I test this theory using a dataset of 80,000 subnational officials and a regression discontinuity design.