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Electoral Rules and Politicians' Behavior: A Micro Test

  • Stefano Gagliarducci
  • Tommaso Nannicini
  • Paolo Naticchioni

Theory predicts that the majoritarian electoral system should produce more targeted redistribution and lower rents than proportional representation. We test these predictions using data on the Italian House of Representatives, and address the nonrandom selection into different systems exploiting one feature of the two-tier elections between 1994-2001: candidates could run for both the majoritarian and proportional tier, but if they won in both they had to accept the majoritarian seat. Focusing on elections decided by a narrow margin, we find that majoritarian representatives put forward more bills targeted at their constituency and show lower absenteeism rates than their proportional colleagues. (JEL D72)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 3 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 144-74

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:3:y:2011:i:3:p:144-74
Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.3.3.144
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  1. Daron Acemoglu, 2005. "Constitutions, Politics and Economics: A Review Essay on Persson and Tabellini's "The Economic Effect of Constitutions"," NBER Working Papers 11235, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Lee, David S., 2008. "Randomized experiments from non-random selection in U.S. House elections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 675-697, February.
  3. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido & Trebbi, Francesco, 2001. "Electoral Rules and Corruption," CEPR Discussion Papers 2741, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Thomas Stratmann & Martin Baur, 2002. "Plurality Rule, Proportional Representation, and the German Bundestag: How Incentives to Pork-Barrel Differ Across Electoral Systems," CESifo Working Paper Series 650, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Persson, T. & Tabellini, G., 1998. "The Size and Scope of Government: Comparative Politics with Rational Politicians," Papers 658, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  6. Alessandro Lizzeri & Nicola Persico, . ""The Provision of Public Goods Under Alternative Electoral Incentives''," CARESS Working Papres 98-08, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  7. Leslie E. Papke & Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 1993. "Econometric Methods for Fractional Response Variables with an Application to 401(k) Plan Participation Rates," NBER Technical Working Papers 0147, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Gagliarducci, Stefano & Nannicini, Tommaso & Naticchioni, Paolo, 2008. "Electoral Rules and Politicians’ Behavior: A Micro Test," IZA Discussion Papers 3348, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Roger B. Myerson, 1991. "Effectiveness of Electoral Systems for Reducing Government Corruption: A Game-Theoretic Analysis," Discussion Papers 956, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  10. Stefano Gagliarducci & Tommaso Nannicini & Paolo Naticchioni, 2007. "Outside Income and Moral Hazard: The Elusive Quest for Good Politicians," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-164, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  11. Torsten Persson & Gerard Roland & Guido Tabellini, 2006. "Electoral Rules and Government Spending in Parliamentary Democracies," Levine's Working Paper Archive 321307000000000249, David K. Levine.
  12. Guillaume R. Frechette & John H. Kagel & Massimo Morelli, 2010. "Pork Versus Public Goods: An Experimental Study of Public Good Provision Within a Legislative Bargaining Framework," Economics Working Papers ECO2010/37, European University Institute.
  13. Wilbert van der Klaauw, 2008. "Regression-Discontinuity Analysis: A Survey of Recent Developments in Economics," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 22(2), pages 219-245, 06.
  14. Hahn, Jinyong & Todd, Petra & Van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2001. "Identification and Estimation of Treatment Effects with a Regression-Discontinuity Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 201-09, January.
  15. Jens Ludwig & Douglas L. Miller, 2005. "Does Head Start Improve Children's Life Chances? Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design," NBER Working Papers 11702, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Guido Imbens & Thomas Lemieux, 2007. "Regression Discontinuity Designs: A Guide to Practice," NBER Working Papers 13039, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti & Roberto Perotti & Massimo Rostagno, 2002. "Electoral Systems and Public Spending," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(2), pages 609-657.
  18. Nicola Persico & José Carlos Rodríguez-Pueblita & Dan Silverman, 2007. "Factions and Political Competition," NBER Working Papers 13008, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Roger B. Myerson, 1998. "Theoretical Comparisons of Electoral Systems," Discussion Papers 1261, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  20. A. Lizzeri & Persico N., 1999. "Provision of Public Goods Under Alternative Electral Incentives," Princeton Economic Theory Papers 99f4, Economics Department, Princeton University.
  21. David S. Lee & Enrico Moretti & Matthew J. Butler, 2004. "Do Voters Affect or Elect Policies? Evidence from the U. S. House," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(3), pages 807-859.
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