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

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  • Torsten Persson
  • Gerard Roland
  • Guido Tabellini

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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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10176.

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Date of creation: Dec 2003
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Publication status: published as Persson, Torsten, Gerard Roland, and Guido Tabellini. "Electoral Rules and Government Spending in Parliamentary Democracies." Quarterly Journal of Political Science 2, 2 (2007): 155-88.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10176

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  1. 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.
  2. Besley, Timothy J. & Coate, Stephen, 2000. "Elected Versus Appointed Regulators: Theory And Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 2381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Persson, Torsten & Roland , Gérard & Tabellini, Guido, 1997. "Comparative Politics and Public Finance," Seminar Papers 633, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  4. Diermeier, Daniel & Merlo, Antonio, 2000. "Government Turnover in Parliamentary Democracies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 46-79, September.
  5. Dani Rodrik, 1998. "Why Do More Open Economies Have Bigger Governments?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 997-1032, October.
  6. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini & Francesco Trebbi, 2001. "Electoral Rules and Corruption," NBER Working Papers 8154, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2004. "Constitutional Rules and Fiscal Policy Outcomes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 25-45, March.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Daniel Diermeier & Hulya Eraslan & Antonio Merlo, 2003. "A Structural Model of Government Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(1), pages 27-70, January.
  11. 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.
  12. David Austen-Smith, 2000. "Redistributing Income under Proportional Representation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(6), pages 1235-1269, December.
  13. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2005. "The Economic Effects of Constitutions," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661926, December.
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