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Citizens’ Freedom to Choose Representatives: Ballot Structure, Proportionality and “Fragmented” Parliaments

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  • Paulo Trigo Pereira
  • João Andrade e Silva

Abstract

The analysis of the political consequences of electoral laws has emphasized how individual characteristics of the electoral system (electoral formulas, district magnitude, ballot structure) affect the degree of parliament “fragmentation” and proportionality. This paper argues that the personal attributes of representatives are also an important consequence of electoral laws, and that they are in part determined by citizens’ freedom to choose representatives. We clarify this concept and develop an index of citizens’ freedom to choose members of parliament as a function of the ballot structure, district size and electoral formulae. Using data from twenty nine countries, we find that neither proportionality nor the effective number of parties is significantly affected by voters’ freedom of choice. This result has important normative implications for electoral reform.

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File URL: http://pascal.iseg.utl.pt/~depeco/wp/wp132007.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by ISEG - School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, University of Lisbon in its series Working Papers Department of Economics with number 2007/13.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:ise:isegwp:wp132007

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Department of Economics, ISEG - School of Economics and Management, University of Lisbon, Rua do Quelhas 6, 1200-781 LISBON, PORTUGAL
Web page: https://aquila1.iseg.ulisboa.pt/aquila/departamentos/EC

Related research

Keywords: Ballot structure; Electoral index; Freedom to choose; Personal vote.;

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  1. Carles Boix, 1999. "Setting the rules of the game: The choice of electoral systems in advanced democracies," Economics Working Papers 367, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
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Cited by:
  1. Paulo T. Pereira, & Lara Wemans,, 2012. "Portugal and the Global Financial Crisis – short-sighted politics, deteriorating public finances and the bailout imperative," Working Papers Department of Economics 2012/26, ISEG - School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, University of Lisbon.

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