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Ideology and Competence in Alternative Electoral Systems

  • Matias Iaryczower
  • Andrea Mattozzi

We develop a model of elections in proportional (PR) and majoritarian (FPTP) electoral systems. The model allows for an endogenous number of candidates, differentiation of candidates in a private value dimension, or ideology, and a common value dimension, which we interpret broadly as quality. Voters are fully rational and strategic. We show that the quality of the candidates is always at least as high in majoritarian electoral systems than in proportional electoral systems, and that the number of candidates is always at least as large in PR as in FPTP (where exactly two candidates run). Moreover, we provide conditions under which the rankings are strict. The diversity of ideological positions represented in elections can be larger in PR or FPTP elections. In the most efficient equilibrium, however, FPTP implies perfect convergence of candidates in the median. Since a convergent equilibrium can never occur in PR, and voters are risk averse, the most efficient equilibrium in FPTP dominates in terms of voters' welfare the most efficient equilirbium in PR.

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Paper provided by David K. Levine in its series Levine's Working Paper Archive with number 122247000000002387.

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Date of creation: 05 Oct 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cla:levarc:122247000000002387
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  1. Alessandro Lizzeri & Nicola Persico, . ""The Provision of Public Goods Under Alternative Electoral Incentives''," CARESS Working Papres 98-08, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  2. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini & Francesco Trebbi, 2003. "Electoral Rules and Corruption," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(4), pages 958-989, 06.
  3. Massimo Morelli, 2004. "Party Formation and Policy Outcomes under Different Electoral Systems," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(3), pages 829-853.
  4. Osborne, Martin J & Slivinski, Al, 1996. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(1), pages 65-96, February.
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  6. Myerson Roger B., 1993. "Effectiveness of Electoral Systems for Reducing Government Corruption: A Game-Theoretic Analysis," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 118-132, January.
  7. Helios Herrera & David K Levine & Cesar Martinelli, 2007. "Policy Platforms, Campaign Spending and Voter Participation," Levine's Working Paper Archive 618897000000000935, David K. Levine.
  8. Aragones, Enriqueta & Palfrey, Thomas. R., 2000. "Mixed Equilibrium in a Downsian Model With a Favored Candidate," Working Papers 1102, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  9. d'ASPREMONT, Claude & GABSZEWICZ, Jean J. & THISSE, Jacques-François, . "On Hotelling's "Stability in competition"," CORE Discussion Papers RP 385, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
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  11. Torsten Persson & Gerard Roland & Guido Tabellini, 2003. "How Do Electoral Rules Shape Party Structures, Government Coalitions, and Economic Policies?," NBER Working Papers 10176, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Perloff, Jeffrey M & Salop, Steven, 1984. "Equilibrium with product differentiation," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt4cq0m6s3, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
  13. David P. Baron & Daniel Diermeier, 2001. "Elections, Governments, And Parliaments In Proportional Representation Systems," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(3), pages 933-967, August.
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  15. David Austen-Smith, 2000. "Redistributing Income under Proportional Representation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(6), pages 1235-1269, December.
  16. repec:bla:restud:v:75:y:2008:i:3:p:671-697 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Banks, Jeffrey S., 1990. "A model of electoral competition with incomplete information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 309-325, April.
  18. Steven Callander, 2008. "Political Motivations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(3), pages 671-697.
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  20. Navin Kartik & R. Preston McAfee, 2007. "Signaling Character in Electoral Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 852-870, June.
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