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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
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cmf:wpaper:wp2007_0716
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  1. A. Lizzeri & Persico N., 1999. "Provision of Public Goods Under Alternative Electral Incentives," Princeton Economic Theory Papers 99f4, Economics Department, Princeton University.
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