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Elections, Governments, and Parliaments in Proportional Representation Systems


  • David P. Baron
  • Daniel Diermeier


This paper presents a theory of parliamentary systems with a proportional representation electoral system, a formateur selected based on party representation in parliament, and parties that cannot commit to the policies they will implement once in government. Government formation involves efficient proto-coalition bargaining, and elections yield unique strong Nash equilibrium outcomes. Depending on the status quo, minimal-majority, surplus, or consensus governments can form. If parties and voters are myopic and the status quo is subject to shocks, consensus governments and centrist policies occur only in a crisis. Otherwise, governments are minimal winning, and policies reflect only the preferences of the government parties.

Suggested Citation

  • David P. Baron & Daniel Diermeier, 2001. "Elections, Governments, and Parliaments in Proportional Representation Systems," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 116(3), pages 933-967.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:116:y:2001:i:3:p:933-967.

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