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Laboratory elections with endogenous turnout: proportional representation versus majoritarian rule

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  • Melis Kartal

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Abstract

I investigate the impact of proportional representation (PR) and majoritarian rule (MR) on voter turnout and minority representation using theory and experiments. Numerous empirical studies have compared turnout across PR and MR. However, the empirical evidence is mixed. I show theoretically and experimentally that the comparison of turnout across PR and MR depends on the size of the minority but the empirical papers on the topic do not control for it. I also show that, in both theory and data, PR improves minority representation at a minute cost to efficiency if the size of the minority is sufficiently large. However, the representation of a small minority does not show a remarkable improvement under PR, unlike what the theory predicts. I conjecture that, under PR, there is a discouragement effect for the small minority because the PR system that I employ has an election threshold. As a result, the impact of the voting system on representation may be sensitive to both the size of the minority and the degree of proportionality. Copyright Economic Science Association 2015

Suggested Citation

  • Melis Kartal, 2015. "Laboratory elections with endogenous turnout: proportional representation versus majoritarian rule," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 18(3), pages 366-384, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:18:y:2015:i:3:p:366-384
    DOI: 10.1007/s10683-014-9408-x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Alan Gerber & Mitchell Hoffman & John Morgan & Collin Raymond, 2017. "One in a Million: Field Experiments on Perceived Closeness of the Election and Voter Turnout," NBER Working Papers 23071, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Marina Agranov & Jacob K. Goeree & Julian Romero & Leeat Yariv, 2012. "What makes voters turn out: the effects of polls and beliefs," ECON - Working Papers 067, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    3. Cesar Martinelli & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2017. "Communication and Information in Games of Collective Decision: A Survey of Experimental Results," Working Papers 1065, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science.
    4. Francesco De Sinopoli & Giovanna Iannantuoni & Maria Vittoria Levati & Ivan Soraperra, 2016. "Electing a parliament: an experimental study," Working Papers 11/2016, University of Verona, Department of Economics.
    5. Herrera, Helios & Llorente-Saguer, Aniol & McMurray, Joseph C., 2016. "The Marginal Voter's Curse," CEPR Discussion Papers 11463, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Majoritarian rule; Proportional representation; Voting experiments; Turnout; Minority representation; C91; C92; D72;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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