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Electoral Rules And Politicians' Behavior: A Micro Test

  • Stefano Gagliarducci

    ()

  • Tommaso Nannicini

    ()

  • Paolo Naticchioni

    ()

    (CEMFI, Centro de Estudios Monetarios y Financieros)

Theory provides many explanations about the influence of electoral rules on politicians’ equilibrium behavior. With a few exceptions, all models agree that majoritarian elections are associated with more targeted redistribution and lower politicians’ rents than proportional representation. To sidestep the identification problems of previous empirical studies based on country-level data, we test these hypotheses using micro data for the mixed-member Italian House of Representatives. In particular, we address the nonrandom selection into different electoral systems by exploiting a particular feature of the Italian two-tier elections from 1994 to 2006: candidates could run for both the majoritarian and the proportional tier, but if they won in both tiers they had to accept the majoritarian seat. Focusing on elections decided by a narrow margin allows us to generate quasi-experimental estimates of the impact of the electoral rule. The main results confirm theoretical predictions, as majoritarian representatives put forward a higher proportion of bills targeted at local areas and show lower absenteeism rates than their proportional colleagues.

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Paper provided by CEMFI in its series Working Papers with number wp2007_0716.

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Date of creation: Nov 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cmf:wpaper:wp2007_0716
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  1. Guillaume R. Frechette & John H. Kagel & Massimo Morelli, 2010. "Pork Versus Public Goods: An Experimental Study of Public Good Provision Within a Legislative Bargaining Framework," Economics Working Papers ECO2010/37, European University Institute.
  2. Torsten Persson & Gerard Roland & Guido Tabellini, 2006. "Electoral Rules and Government Spending in Parliamentary Democracies," Levine's Working Paper Archive 321307000000000706, David K. Levine.
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  5. Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti & Roberto Perotti & Massimo Rostagno, 2002. "Electoral Systems and Public Spending," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(2), pages 609-657.
  6. Gagliarducci, Stefano & Nannicini, Tommaso & Naticchioni, Paolo, 2008. "Outside Income and Moral Hazard: The Elusive Quest for Good Politicians," IZA Discussion Papers 3295, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Guido Imbens & Thomas Lemieux, 2007. "Regression Discontinuity Designs: A Guide to Practice," NBER Working Papers 13039, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1999. "The Size and Scope of Government: Comparative Politics With Rational Politicians," CEPR Discussion Papers 2051, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Jens Ludwig & Douglas L. Miller, 2005. "Does Head Start Improve Children's Life Chances? Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design," NBER Working Papers 11702, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. Roger B. Myerson, 1998. "Theoretical Comparisons of Electoral Systems," Discussion Papers 1261, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  13. Lee, David S., 2008. "Randomized experiments from non-random selection in U.S. House elections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 675-697, February.
  14. 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.
  15. Nicola Persico & José Carlos Rodríguez-Pueblita & Dan Silverman, 2007. "Factions and Political Competition," NBER Working Papers 13008, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Thomas Stratmann & Martin Baur, 2002. "Plurality Rule, Proportional Representation, and the German Bundestag: How Incentives to Pork-Barrel Differ Across Electoral Systems," CESifo Working Paper Series 650, CESifo Group Munich.
  17. Alessro Lizzeri & Nicola Persico, . "The Provision of Public Goods Under Alternative Electoral Incentives," Penn CARESS Working Papers b96440ba0bfa06ca550ac40aa, Penn Economics Department.
  18. Daron Acemoglu, 2005. "Constitutions, Politics and Economics: A Review Essay on Persson and Tabellini's "The Economic Effect of Constitutions"," NBER Working Papers 11235, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. David S. Lee & Enrico Moretti & Matthew J. Butler, 2004. "Do Voters Affect or Elect Policies? Evidence from the U. S. House," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(3), pages 807-859.
  20. A. Lizzeri & Persico N., 1999. "Provision of Public Goods Under Alternative Electral Incentives," Princeton Economic Theory Papers 99f4, Economics Department, Princeton University.
  21. Leslie E. Papke & Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 1993. "Econometric Methods for Fractional Response Variables with an Application to 401(k) Plan Participation Rates," NBER Technical Working Papers 0147, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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