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Electoral Systems and Government Stability: A Simulation of 2006 Italian Policy Space



This paper tracks a path from electoral results to government formation, in order to assess whether the characteristics of the party system put forward by the spatial theory of voting may influence, and how, the relationship between electoral system and government stability. In this regard we perform a simulation concerning the 2006 Italian general election, by computing the parliamentary seats that parties would get in an election through various electoral systems, starting from given electors’ votes. We then introduce two well-known game theoretical models that explain stability and instability of coalition governments. We draw some counterfactual deductions about what would have occurred to Italian government stability if other electoral systems had been in use. The results of our simulation suggest that the stability consequences of technical changes in an electoral system are influenced by the spatial features of the party system.

Suggested Citation

  • Luigi Curini & Paolo Martelli, 2009. "Electoral Systems and Government Stability: A Simulation of 2006 Italian Policy Space," Czech Economic Review, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, vol. 3(3), pages 305-322, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:fau:aucocz:au2009_305

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:cup:apsrev:v:82:y:1988:i:01:p:195-211_08 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Marie-Edith Bissey & Mauro Carini & Guido Ortona, 2004. "ALEX3: a Simulation Program to Compare Electoral Systems," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 7(3), pages 1-3.
    3. Stefania Ottone & Ferrucio Ponzano & Roberto Ricciuti, 2009. "Simulating Voting Rule Reforms for the Italian Parliament: An Economic Perspective," Czech Economic Review, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, vol. 3(3), pages 292-304, October.
    4. McKelvey, Richard D., 1976. "Intransitivities in multidimensional voting models and some implications for agenda control," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 472-482, June.
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    More about this item


    Electoral systems; spatial theory of voting; simulation; government stability; Italian party system;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • C15 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Statistical Simulation Methods: General


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