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Electoral rules, strategic entry and polarization

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  • Bol, Damien
  • Matakos, Konstantinos
  • Troumpounis, Orestis
  • Xefteris, Dimitrios

Abstract

How does electoral rule disproportionality affect the structure of the party system (i.e. the number and the policy platforms of the competing parties)? By studying a model where both party entry and platform choice are endogenous we are able to provide a unified theory: An increasing electoral rule disproportionality exhibits: a) a first-order negative effect on platform polarization, b) a second-order negative effect on the number of parties (as polarization decreases, centrist parties are squeezed between other contenders and prefer not to enter), and c) an additional third-order negative effect on polarization via the reduction of the number of parties. We then conduct a laboratory experiment and strongly confirm the theoretical predictions of the model.

Suggested Citation

  • Bol, Damien & Matakos, Konstantinos & Troumpounis, Orestis & Xefteris, Dimitrios, 2019. "Electoral rules, strategic entry and polarization," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 178(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:178:y:2019:i:c:s0047272719301264
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2019.104065
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    2. Nikolas Tsakas & Dimitrios Xefteris, 2019. "Stress-Testing the Runoff Rule in the Laboratory," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 10-2019, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
    3. Gianmarco Daniele & Amedeo Piolatto & Willem Sas, 2018. "Who Sent You? Strategic Voting, Transfers and Bailouts in a Federation," Working Papers. Serie AD 2018-05, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
    4. Denter, Philipp, 2019. "Valence, Complementarities, and Political Polarization," MPRA Paper 97396, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Pivato, Marcus & Soh, Arnold, 2020. "Weighted representative democracy," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 52-63.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Electoral systems; Proportional representation; Disproportionality; Strategic entry; Polarization; Laboratory experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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