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District magnitude and representation of the majority’s preferences: Evidence from popular and parliamentary votes

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  • Marco Portmann

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  • David Stadelmann

    ()

  • Reiner Eichenberger

    ()

Abstract

Representatives have more effective incentives to cater to the preferences of the majority of citizens when they are elected in districts with few rather than many seats. We investigate this hypothesis empirically by matching Swiss members of parliament’s voting behavior on legislative proposals with real referendum outcomes on the same issues for the years 1996 to 2008. We thus identify the impact of district magnitude on representatives’ incentives to adhere to citizens’ revealed preferences. We find systematic, statistically significant and economically relevant evidence that individual representatives from districts with few seats vote more often in line with majority preferences. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Suggested Citation

  • Marco Portmann & David Stadelmann & Reiner Eichenberger, 2012. "District magnitude and representation of the majority’s preferences: Evidence from popular and parliamentary votes," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 151(3), pages 585-610, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:151:y:2012:i:3:p:585-610
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-010-9760-0
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Niklas Potrafke, 2013. "Evidence on the political principal-agent problem from voting on public finance for concert halls," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 215-238, September.
    2. Stadelmann, David & Portmann, Marco & Eichenberger, Reiner, 2013. "Quantifying parliamentary representation of constituents’ preferences with quasi-experimental data," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 170-180.
    3. Stadelmann, David & Portmann, Marco & Eichenberger, Reiner, 2015. "Military careers of politicians matter for national security policy," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 142-156.
    4. Marco Portmann & David Stadelmann, 2013. "Testing the Median Voter Model and Moving Beyond its Limits: Do Characteristics of Politicians Matter?," CREMA Working Paper Series 2013-05, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    5. Reiner Eichenberger & David Stadelmann & Marco Portmann, 2012. "A comparative analysis of the voting behavior of constituents and their representatives for public debts," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 23(3), pages 244-260, September.
    6. repec:kap:pubcho:v:174:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s11127-017-0491-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. David Stadelmann & Marco Portmann & Reiner Eichenberger, 2012. "Preference Representation and the Influence of Political Parties in Majoritarian vs. Proportional Systems: An Almost Ideal Empirical Test," CREMA Working Paper Series 2012-03, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    8. David Stadelmann & Reiner Eichenberger & Marco Portmann, 2014. "Voting against the separation of powers between legislature and administration," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 25(2), pages 207-229, June.
    9. Felix Arnold & Ronny Freier & Magdalena Pallauf & David Stadelmann, 2016. "Voting for direct democratic participation: evidence from an initiative election," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 23(4), pages 716-740, August.
    10. Stadelmann, David & Portmann, Marco & Eichenberger, Reiner, 2015. "Income and policy choices: Evidence from parliamentary decisions and referenda," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 117-120.
    11. Stadelmann, David & Portmann, Marco & Eichenberger, Reiner, 2013. "How do Female Preferences Influence Political Decisions by Female and Male Representatives?," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79748, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    12. Önder, Ali Sina & Portmann, Marco & Stadelmann, David, 2015. "No Place like Home: Opinion Formation with Homophily and Implications for Policy Decisions," Working Paper Series, Center for Fiscal Studies 2015:4, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    13. Stadelmann, David & Portmann, Marco & Eichenberger, Reiner, 2016. "The Influence of Party Affiliations on Representation of Voter Preferences in Majoritarian vs. Proportional Systems," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145705, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    14. John Carey & Simon Hix, 2013. "District magnitude and representation of the majority’s preferences: a comment and reinterpretation," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 154(1), pages 139-148, January.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Voter preferences; Political economy; Electoral systems; D72; D70; H00;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • H00 - Public Economics - - General - - - General

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