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Party Formation and Policy Outcomes under Different Electoral Systems

  • Massimo Morelli

I introduce a model of representative democracy with strategic parties, strategic candidates, strategic voters and multiple districts. If policy preferences are similar across districts and not too concentrated within districts, then the number of effective parties is larger under proportional representation (PR) than under plurality, and both electoral systems determine the median voter's preferred policy. However, for more asymmetric distributions of preferences the Duvergerian predictions can be reversed, and the policy outcome with PR is more moderate than the one with plurality. Sincere voting induces more party formation, and strategic voting can be observed more often under PR. Copyright 2004, Wiley-Blackwell.

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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Review of Economic Studies.

Volume (Year): 71 (2004)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 829-853

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Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:71:y:2004:i:3:p:829-853
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  1. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1997. "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 85-114, February.
  2. DE SINOPOLI, Francesco & IANNANTUONI, Giovanna, 2000. "A spatial voting model where proportional rule leads to two-party equilibria," CORE Discussion Papers 2000037, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  3. Myerson, Roger B., 1999. "Theoretical comparisons of electoral systems," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 671-697, April.
  4. Nicola Persico & Alessandro Lizzeri, 2001. "The Provision of Public Goods under Alternative Electoral Incentives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 225-239, March.
  5. Alesina, Alberto & Rosenthal, Howard, 1996. "A Theory of Divided Government," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(6), pages 1311-41, November.
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  7. Wittman, Donald, 1977. "Candidates with policy preferences: A dynamic model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 180-189, February.
  8. Caillaud, B. & Tirole, J., 1999. "Party governance and ideological bias," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 779-789, April.
  9. Alesina, Alberto & Spear, Stephen E., 1988. "An overlapping generations model of electoral competition," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 359-379, December.
  10. E. Maskin, 1979. "Voting Schemes for Public Alternatives: Some Notes on Majority Rule," Working papers 229, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  11. Alesina, Alberto, 1988. "Credibility and Policy Convergence in a Two-Party System with Rational Voters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 796-805, September.
  12. Harrington, Joseph Jr., 1992. "The role of party reputation in the formation of policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 107-121, October.
  13. David P. Myatt, 2000. "The New Theory of Strategic Voting," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1586, Econometric Society.
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