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Mechanical and Psychological Effects of Electoral Reform

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  • Jon H. Fiva
  • Olle Folke

Abstract

Duverger (1954) noted that changes in electoral systems will have two types of effects: mechanical effects, and reactions of political agents in anticipation of these, which he referred to as psychological effects. It is complicated to empirically separate the two effects since these occur simultaneously. In this paper we use a large set of counterfactual election outcomes to address this issue. Our application is based on a nationwide municipal electoral reform in Norway, which changed the seat allocation method from d’Hondt to modified Sainte-Lagüe. Even though this electoral reform is of a relatively small magnitude, we document substantial psychological effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Jon H. Fiva & Olle Folke, 2011. "Mechanical and Psychological Effects of Electoral Reform," CESifo Working Paper Series 3505, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3505
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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp3505.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Kei Kawai & Yasutora Watanabe, 2013. "Inferring Strategic Voting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(2), pages 624-662, April.
    2. Blais, André & Carty, R. K., 1991. "The Psychological Impact of Electoral Laws: Measuring Duverger's Elusive Factor," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 21(01), pages 79-93, January.
    3. Pettersson-Lidbom, Per, 2012. "Does the size of the legislature affect the size of government? Evidence from two natural experiments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(3), pages 269-278.
    4. Andersen, Jørgen Juel & Fiva, Jon H. & Natvik, Gisle James, 2014. "Voting when the stakes are high," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 157-166.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Cited by:

    1. Lars-Erik Borge & Arnt O. Hopland, 2017. "Schools and public buildings in decay: the role of political fragmentation," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 85-105, February.
    2. Baskaran, Thushyanthan & Lopes da Fonseca, Mariana, 2016. "Electoral competition and endogenous political institutions: Quasi-experimental evidence from Germany," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 43-61.
    3. Fiva, Jon H. & Halse, Askill H., 2016. "Local favoritism in at-large proportional representation systems," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 15-26.
    4. Thushyanthan Baskaran & Mariana Lopes da Fonseca, 2016. "Electoral thresholds and political representation," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 169(1), pages 117-136, October.
    5. repec:kap:pubcho:v:171:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11127-016-0399-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Saarimaa, Tuukka & Tukiainen, Janne, 2016. "Local representation and strategic voting: Evidence from electoral boundary reforms," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 31-45.
    7. Lyytikäinen, Teemu & Tukiainen, Janne, 2013. "Are Voters Rational?," Working Papers 50, VATT Institute for Economic Research.
    8. Tukiainen, Janne & Saarimaa, Tuukka & Hyytinen, Ari, 2013. "Seat competitiveness and redistricting: Evidence from voting on municipal mergers," Working Papers 38, VATT Institute for Economic Research.
    9. Jon H. Fiva & Olle Folke & Rune J. Sørensen, 2013. "The Power of Parties," CESifo Working Paper Series 4119, CESifo Group Munich.
    10. Jon H. Fiva & Daniel M. Smith, 2016. "Political Dynasties and the Incumbency Advantage in Party-Centered Environments," CESifo Working Paper Series 5757, CESifo Group Munich.
    11. repec:eee:eecrev:v:101:y:2018:i:c:p:142-156 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Baskaran, Thushyanthan & Lopes da Fonseca, Mariana, 2013. "Electoral thresholds and political outcomes: Quasi-experimental evidence from a reform in Germany," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 177, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C10 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - General
    • H70 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - General

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