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Plurality versus proportional electoral rule: which is most representative of voters?

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  • Amedeo Piolatto

    ()
    (Universidad de Alicante)

Abstract

This study compares the representativeness of voters in the proportional electoral system with the situation under plurality rule. Representativeness is commonly measured by comparing parties’ received votes with their shares of seats in the Parliament; this implies that proportional rule should always better represent voters. A coalition within the Parliament, however, rules the country without interference and supports the government; when a coalition is formed, the pivotal role of small parties and the proposal right of the formateur can significantly impact the distribution of power. Focusing on the coalition formation stage, I demonstrate that the proportional rule is more representative only under very specific conditions. If these conditions are not met, introducing some distortions in the distribution of seats among parties can actually improve representativeness.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB) in its series Working Papers with number 2009/27.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ieb:wpaper:2009/12/doc2009-27

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Keywords: Electoral systems; proportional rule; plurality rule; voters’ representation;

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References

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  1. Massimo Morelli, 2004. "Party Formation and Policy Outcomes under Different Electoral Systems," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(3), pages 829-853.
  2. Ariel Rubinstein, 2010. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Levine's Working Paper Archive 661465000000000387, David K. Levine.
  3. Banks, Jeffrey S. & Duggan, John, 1999. "A Bargaining Model of Collective Choice," Working Papers 1053, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  4. Harald Wiese, 2007. "Measuring The Power Of Parties Within Government Coalitions," International Game Theory Review (IGTR), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 9(02), pages 307-322.
  5. Diermeier, Daniel & Merlo, Antonio, 2004. "An empirical investigation of coalitional bargaining procedures," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 783-797, March.
  6. Emmanuelle Auriol & Robert J. Gary-Bobo, 1998. "On the Optimal Number of Representatives," Discussion Papers 1286, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  7. 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.
  8. Amer, Rafael & Carreras, Francese & Gimenez, Jose Miguel, 2002. "The modified Banzhaf value for games with coalition structure: an axiomatic characterization," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 45-54, January.
  9. Tasos Kalandrakis, 2004. "Proposal Rights and Political Power," Wallis Working Papers WP38, University of Rochester - Wallis Institute of Political Economy.
  10. 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.
  11. Bandyopadhyay, Siddhartha & Oak, Mandar P., 2008. "Coalition governments in a model of parliamentary democracy," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 554-561, September.
  12. Austen-Smith, David & Banks, Jeffrey., 1987. "Elections, Coalitions, and Legislative Outcomes," Working Papers 643, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  13. James M. Snyder Jr. & Michael M. Ting & Stephen Ansolabehere, 2005. "Legislative Bargaining under Weighted Voting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 981-1004, September.
  14. Daniel Diermeier & Hulya Eraslan & Antonio Merlo, 2002. "Bicameralism and Government Formation, Second Version," PIER Working Paper Archive 07-010, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 01 Feb 2007.
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Cited by:
  1. Felix Arnold, 2013. "German MPs' Outside Jobs and Their Repercussions on Parliamentary Effort," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1340, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  2. Climent Quintana Domeque & Sonia Oreffice, 2010. "Anthropometry and socioeconomics in the couple: evidence from the PSID," Working Papers. Serie AD 2010-16, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).

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