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How Do Electoral Rules Shape Party Structures, Government Coalitions, and Economic Policies?

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  • Torsten Persson
  • Gerard Roland
  • Guido Tabellini

Abstract

We present a theoretical model of a parliamentary democracy, where party structures, government coalitions and fiscal policies are endogenously determined. The model predicts that, relative to proportional elections, majoritarian elections reduce government spending because they reduce party fragmentation and, therefore, the incidence of coalition governments. Party fragmentation can persist under majoritarian rule if party supporters are unevenly distributed across electoral districts. Economic and political data, from up to 50 post-war parliamentary democracies, strongly support our joint predictions from the electoral rule, to the party system, to the type of government, and to government spending.

Suggested Citation

  • Torsten Persson & Gerard Roland & Guido Tabellini, 2004. "How Do Electoral Rules Shape Party Structures, Government Coalitions, and Economic Policies?," CESifo Working Paper Series 1115, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1115
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Torsten Persson & Gerard Roland & Guido Tabellini, 2000. "Comparative Politics and Public Finance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(6), pages 1121-1161, December.
    2. Diermeier, Daniel & Merlo, Antonio, 2000. "Government Turnover in Parliamentary Democracies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 46-79, September.
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    5. Diermeier, Daniel & Feddersen, Timothy J., 1998. "Cohesion in Legislatures and the Vote of Confidence Procedure," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 92(3), pages 611-621, September.
    6. David Austen-Smith, 2000. "Redistributing Income under Proportional Representation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(6), pages 1235-1269, December.
    7. Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate, 2003. "Elected Versus Appointed Regulators: Theory and Evidence," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(5), pages 1176-1206, September.
    8. Dani Rodrik, 1998. "Why Do More Open Economies Have Bigger Governments?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 997-1032, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Marsiliani, Laura & Renström, Thomas I, 2007. "Political Institutions and Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 6143, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Stefan Voigt, 2011. "Positive constitutional economics II—a survey of recent developments," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 146(1), pages 205-256, January.
    3. International Monetary Fund, 2007. "Papua New Guinea; Selected Issues and Statistical Appendix," IMF Staff Country Reports 07/112, International Monetary Fund.
    4. J. Ferris & Soo-Bin Park & Stanley Winer, 2008. "Studying the role of political competition in the evolution of government size over long horizons," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 137(1), pages 369-401, October.
    5. Andersen, Jørgen Juel, 2011. "The form of government and fiscal dynamics," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 297-310, June.
    6. Ebrima A Faal, 2007. "Political Budget Cycles in Papua New Guinea," IMF Working Papers 07/219, International Monetary Fund.
    7. Hayo, Bernd & Voigt, Stefan, 2010. "Determinants of constitutional change: Why do countries change their form of government?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 283-305, September.
    8. J Stephen Ferris & Soo-Bin Park & Stanley L. Winer, 2006. "Political Competition and Convergence to Fundamentals: With Application to the Political Business Cycle and the Size of Government," CESifo Working Paper Series 1646, CESifo Group Munich.
    9. Bartolini, David & Santolini, Raffaella, 2017. "Political institutions behind good governance," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 68-85.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    electoral rules; party systems; coalition governments; fiscal policy; electoral accountability;

    JEL classification:

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

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