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Strategic electoral rule choice under uncertainty

Author

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  • Konstantinos Matakos

    ()

  • Dimitrios Xefteris

    ()

Abstract

We study electoral rule choice in a multi-party model with office-motivated parties and electoral outcome uncertainty. We show that when all dominant parties (parties with positive probability of winning the election) have sufficiently good chances of winning, they agree to switch from the PR rule to a more majoritarian one in order to increase their chances of forming a single-party government. We identify the exact degree of disproportionality of the new rule and we prove that it is increasing in the expected vote share of the smaller parties (parties with zero probability of winning otherwise). The necessary and sufficient conditions for such collusion in favor of a majoritarian rule are: (a) the high rents from a single-party government and (b) sufficient uncertainty over the electoral outcome. Our theoretical predictions regarding the degree of the disproportionality of the electoral rule are supported by empirical evidence. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Suggested Citation

  • Konstantinos Matakos & Dimitrios Xefteris, 2015. "Strategic electoral rule choice under uncertainty," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 162(3), pages 329-350, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:162:y:2015:i:3:p:329-350
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-014-0228-5
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11127-014-0228-5
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Selim Ergun, 2010. "From plurality rule to proportional representation," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 373-408, November.
    2. Carles Boix, 1999. "Setting the rules of the game: The choice of electoral systems in advanced democracies," Economics Working Papers 367, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    3. Josep M. Colomer, 2005. "It's Parties That Choose Electoral Systems (or, Duverger's Laws Upside Down)," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 53, pages 1-21, March.
    4. repec:cup:apsrev:v:100:y:2006:i:02:p:165-181_06 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Persson, Torsten & Roland, Gerard & Tabellini, Guido, 2007. "Electoral Rules and Government Spending in Parliamentary Democracies," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 2(2), pages 155-188, May.
    6. Anthony Bertelli & Lilliard Richardson, 2008. "Ideological extremism and electoral design. Multimember versus single member districts," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 137(1), pages 347-368, October.
    7. repec:cup:apsrev:v:93:y:1999:i:03:p:591-608_21 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Patrick Hummel, 2011. "Proportional versus winner-take-all electoral vote allocations," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 148(3), pages 381-393, September.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Electoral rules; Disproportionality; Seat premium ; Single-party government; Uncertainty; Strategic coordination; D02; D72; H10;

    JEL classification:

    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H10 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - General

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