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Electoral Bias and Policy Choice: Theory and Evidence

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  • Timothy Besley

    (London School of Economics, CIAR, and IFS)

  • Ian Preston

    (University College London and IFS)

Abstract

This paper develops an approach to studying how bias in favor of one party due to the pattern of electoral districting affects policy choice. We tie a commonly used measure of electoral bias to the theory of party competition and show how this affects party strategy in theory. The usefulness of the approach is illustrated using data on local government in England. The results suggest that reducing electoral bias leads parties to moderate their policies. (c) 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology..

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 122 (2007)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 1473-1510

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:122:y:2007:i:4:p:1473-1510

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  1. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1997. "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 85-114, February.
  2. Besley, Timothy J. & Persson, Torsten & Sturm, Daniel M, 2005. "Political Competition and Economic Performance: Theory and Evidence from the United States," CEPR Discussion Papers 5138, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Coate, Stephen & Knight, Brian, 2007. "Socially Optimal Districting: A Theoretical and Empirical Exploration," Working Papers 07-06, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
  4. Tim Besley, 2002. "Political institutions and policy choices: evidence from the United States," IFS Working Papers W02/13, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  5. repec:bla:restud:v:77:y:2010:i:4:p:1329-1352 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Rogers, Diane Lim & Rogers, John H, 2000. " Political Competition and State Government Size: Do Tighter Elections Produce Looser Budgets?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 105(1-2), pages 1-21, October.
  7. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2005. "The Economic Effects of Constitutions," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661926, December.
  8. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2002. "Political Economics: Explaining Economic Policy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661314, December.
  9. Stephen Coate & Brian Knight, 2005. "Socially Optimal Districting," NBER Working Papers 11462, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Alesina, Alberto, 1988. "Credibility and Policy Convergence in a Two-Party System with Rational Voters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 796-805, September.
  11. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2004. "Constitutional Rules and Fiscal Policy Outcomes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 25-45, March.
  12. George Stigler, 1972. "Economic competition and political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 91-106, September.
  13. Ron Johnston & Colin Rallings & Michael Thrasher, 2002. "Electoral success, electoral bias, and Labour hegemony: electoral system effects in English metropolitan boroughs," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 34(7), pages 1303-1317, July.
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