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District magnitude and representation of the majority’s preferences: Evidence from popular and parliamentary votes

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  • Marco Portmann

    ()

  • David Stadelmann

    ()

  • Reiner Eichenberger

    ()

Abstract

Representatives have more effective incentives to cater to the preferences of the majority of citizens when they are elected in districts with few rather than many seats. We investigate this hypothesis empirically by matching Swiss members of parliament’s voting behavior on legislative proposals with real referendum outcomes on the same issues for the years 1996 to 2008. We thus identify the impact of district magnitude on representatives’ incentives to adhere to citizens’ revealed preferences. We find systematic, statistically significant and economically relevant evidence that individual representatives from districts with few seats vote more often in line with majority preferences. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11127-010-9760-0
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

Volume (Year): 151 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 585-610

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Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:151:y:2012:i:3:p:585-610

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100332

Related research

Keywords: Voter preferences; Political economy; Electoral systems; D72; D70; H00;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Niklas Potrafke, 2013. "Evidence on the Political Principal-Agent Problem from Voting on Public Finance for Concert Halls," CESifo Working Paper Series 4306, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Stadelmann, David & Portmann, Marco & Eichenberger, Reiner, 2013. "How do Female Preferences Influence Political Decisions by Female and Male Representatives?," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79748, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  3. Reiner Eichenberger & David Stadelmann & Marco Portmann, 2012. "A comparative analysis of the voting behavior of constituents and their representatives for public debts," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 23(3), pages 244-260, September.
  4. John Carey & Simon Hix, 2013. "District magnitude and representation of the majority’s preferences: a comment and reinterpretation," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 154(1), pages 139-148, January.

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