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How do Electoral Rules Shape Party Structures, Government Coalitions and Economic Policies?

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  • Persson, Torsten
  • Roland, Gérard
  • Tabellini, Guido

Abstract

We present a theoretical model of a parliamentary democracy, where party structures, government coalitions and fiscal policies are endogenously determined. The model predicts that, relative to proportional elections, majoritarian elections reduce government spending because they reduce party fragmentation and, therefore, the incidence of coalition governments. Party fragmentation can persist under majoritarian rule if party supporters are unevenly distributed across electoral districts. Economic and political data, from up to 50 post-war parliamentary democracies, strongly support our joint predictions from the electoral rule, to the party system, to the type of government, and to government spending.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 4226.

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Date of creation: Feb 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4226

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Keywords: coalition governments; electoral accountability; electoral rules; fiscal policy; party systems;

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  1. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
  2. Persson, Torsten & Roland , Gérard & Tabellini, Guido, 1997. "Comparative Politics and Public Finance," Seminar Papers 633, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  3. Diermeier, Daniel & Merlo, Antonio, 1998. "Government turnover in parliamentary democracies," Bulletins 7453, University of Minnesota, Economic Development Center.
  4. Daniel Diermeier & Hulya Eraslan & Antonio Merlo, 2003. "A Structural Model of Government Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(1), pages 27-70, January.
  5. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2004. "Constitutional Rules and Fiscal Policy Outcomes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 25-45, March.
  6. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido & Trebbi, Francesco, 2001. "Electoral Rules and Corruption," CEPR Discussion Papers 2741, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. David P. Baron & Daniel Diermeier, 2001. "Elections, Governments, And Parliaments In Proportional Representation Systems," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(3), pages 933-967, August.
  8. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1999. "Political economics and macroeconomic policy," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 22, pages 1397-1482 Elsevier.
  9. Rodrik, Dani, 1996. "Why do More Open Economies Have Bigger Governments?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1388, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate, 2003. "Elected Versus Appointed Regulators: Theory and Evidence," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(5), pages 1176-1206, 09.
  11. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2005. "The Economic Effects of Constitutions," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661926, December.
  12. Diermeier, Daniel & Eraslan, H�lya & Merlo, Antonio, 2007. "Bicameralism and Government Formation," International Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 2(3), pages 227-252, August.
  13. David Austen-Smith, 2000. "Redistributing Income under Proportional Representation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(6), pages 1235-1269, December.
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