Legislative malapportionment and institutional persistence
AbstractThis paper argues that legislative malapportionment, denoting a discrepancy between the share of legislative seats and the share of population held by electoral districts, serves as a tool for pre-democratic elites to preserve their political power and economic interests after a transition to democracy. The authors claim that legislative malapportionment enhances the pre-democratic elite’s political influence by over-representing areas that are more likely to vote for parties aligned with the elite. This biased political representation survives in equilibrium as long as it helps democratic consolidation. Using data from Latin America, the authors document empirically that malapportionment increases the probability of transitioning to a democracy. Moreover, the data show that over-represented electoral districts are more likely to vote for parties close to pre-democracy ruling groups. The analysis also finds that overrepresented areas have lower levels of political competition and receive more transfers per capita from the central government, both of which favor the persistence of power of pre-democracy elites.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5467.
Date of creation: 01 Nov 2010
Date of revision:
Parliamentary Government; Labor Policies; Emerging Markets; Political Economy; Political Systems and Analysis;
Other versions of this item:
- Francisco Gallego & Miriam Bruhn & Massimiliano Onorato, 2010. "Legislative Malapportionment and institutional persistence," Working Papers ClioLab 11, EH Clio Lab. Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.
- Miriam Bruhn & Francisco Gallego & Massimiliano Onorato, 2010. "Legislative Malapportionment and institutional persistence," Documentos de Trabajo 381, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
- H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government
- N46 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Latin America; Caribbean
- N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative
- P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
- P48 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2010-11-13 (All new papers)
- NEP-CDM-2010-11-13 (Collective Decision-Making)
- NEP-PBE-2010-11-13 (Public Economics)
- NEP-POL-2010-11-13 (Positive Political Economics)
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- Baland, Jean-Marie & Robinson, James A, 2011. "The Political Value of Land: Democratization and Land Prices in Chile," CEPR Discussion Papers 8296, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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