While many studies of party system nationalization examine the effects of various institutional factors, few take into account the impact of party formation cost. This paper aims to fill the empirical gap by focusing on the interactive effect of electoral systems and party registration rules. I argue that the effect of electoral systems on party system nationalization is conditional on spatial registration rules, a requirement that requires a party to collect signatures or organize local branches in a specified geographical manner to maintain the party’s legal status. Based on data for 97 legislative elections in 18 Latin American countries from 1978 to 2011, the empirical analysis demonstrates that a country with an electoral system that encourages a personal vote tends to have a much lower level of party system nationalization when that country does not have spatial registration requirements. The result is robust across different model specifications and estimation techniques.
INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL SCIENCE REVIEW, 39(2), 192-208