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Voters’ preferences and electoral systems: the EuroVotePlus experiment in Italy


  • Luca Bettarelli

    (College of Europe)

  • Giovanna Iannantuoni

    (University of Milan-Bicocca)

  • Elena Manzoni

    (University of Milan-Bicocca)

  • Francesca Rossi

    (University of Verona)


Motivated by the need to understand voting behaviour under different electoral rules, Laslier et al. (Eur Union Polit, 16(4):601–615, 2015) have conducted an online experiment, the EuroVotePlus experiment, focusing on the effects of the different rules adopted to elect members of the European parliament on voters’ behaviour. The experiment took place in several European countries in the 3 weeks before the 2014 elections for the European Parliament. This paper focuses on the Italian data. Firstly, we show that the behaviour of Italian respondents is consistent with the empirical findings at the European level. Then, we exploit the change from open list to closed list elections implemented in Italy in 1993 to investigate whether and how preferences over institutions are affected by experience. We find that respondents who voted using the open list system in Italy are more likely to prefer closed list systems, and that the effect is stronger the higher the number of open list elections the respondents have faced.

Suggested Citation

  • Luca Bettarelli & Giovanna Iannantuoni & Elena Manzoni & Francesca Rossi, 2017. "Voters’ preferences and electoral systems: the EuroVotePlus experiment in Italy," Economia Politica: Journal of Analytical and Institutional Economics, Springer;Fondazione Edison, vol. 34(1), pages 159-177, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:epolit:v:34:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s40888-016-0046-y
    DOI: 10.1007/s40888-016-0046-y

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. André Blais & Jean-François Laslier & François Poinas & Karine Straeten, 2015. "Citizens’ preferences about voting rules: self-interest, ideology, and sincerity," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 164(3), pages 423-442, September.
    2. Jean-François Laslier & André Blais & Damien Bol & Sona N Golder & Philipp Harfst & Laura B Stephenson & Karine Van der Straeten, 2015. "The EuroVotePlus experiment," European Union Politics, , vol. 16(4), pages 601-615, December.
    3. Golden, Miriam A., 2003. "Electoral Connections: The Effects of the Personal Vote on Political Patronage, Bureaucracy and Legislation in Postwar Italy," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 33(2), pages 189-212, April.
    4. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65(2), pages 135-135.
    5. John Aldrich & Jason Reifler & Michael Munger, 2014. "Sophisticated and myopic? Citizen preferences for Electoral College reform," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 158(3), pages 541-558, March.
    6. Damien Bol & Philipp Harfst & André Blais & Sona N Golder & Jean-François Laslier & Laura B Stephenson & Karine Van der Straeten, 2016. "Addressing Europe’s democratic deficit: An experimental evaluation of the pan-European district proposal," European Union Politics, , vol. 17(4), pages 525-545, December.
    7. repec:hal:pseose:halshs-01245549 is not listed on IDEAS
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    More about this item


    European Parliament Election; Open list; Closed list; Voting rules;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments


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