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So Closed: Political Selection in Proportional Systems

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  • Galasso, Vincenzo
  • Nannicini, Tommaso

Abstract

We analyze political selection in a closed list proportional system where parties have strong gate-keeping power, which they use as an instrument to pursue votes. Parties face a trade-off between selecting loyal candidates or experts, who are highly valued by the voters and thus increase the probability of winning the election. Voters can be rational or behavioral. The former care about the quality mix of the elected candidates in the winning party, and hence about the ordering on the party list. The latter only concentrate on the quality type of the candidates in the top positions of the party list. Our theoretical model shows that, to persuade rational voters, parties optimally allocate loyalists to safe seats and experts to uncertain positions. Persuading behavioral voters instead requires to position the experts visibly on top of the electoral list. Our empirical analysis, which uses data from the 2013 National election in Italy---held under closed list proportional representation---and from independent pre-electoral polls, is overall supportive of voters' rational behavior. Loyalists (i.e., party officers or former members of Parliament who mostly voted along party lines) are overrepresented in safe positions, and, within both safe and uncertain positions, they are ranked higher in the list.

Suggested Citation

  • Galasso, Vincenzo & Nannicini, Tommaso, 2015. "So Closed: Political Selection in Proportional Systems," CEPR Discussion Papers 10514, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:10514
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    11. Timothy Besley & Olle Folke & Torsten Persson & Johanna Rickne, 2017. "Gender Quotas and the Crisis of the Mediocre Man: Theory and Evidence from Sweden," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(8), pages 2204-2242, August.
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    Cited by:

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    2. Mauro Caselli & Paolo Falco, 2019. "Your Vote is (no) Secret! How Low Voter Density Harms Voter Anonymity and Biases Elections in Italy," EconPol Working Paper 26, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    3. Potrafke, Niklas & Rösch, Marcus & Ursprung, Heinrich, 2020. "Election systems, the “beauty premium” in politics, and the beauty of dissent," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 64(C).
    4. Voigt, Stefan, 2020. "Mind the Gap – Analyzing the Divergence between Constitutional Text and Constitutional Reality," ILE Working Paper Series 32, University of Hamburg, Institute of Law and Economics.
    5. Schnellenbach, Jan & Schubert, Christian, 2015. "Behavioral political economy: A survey," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 40(PB), pages 395-417.
    6. Crutzen, Beno�t SY & Flamand, Sabine & Sahuguet, Nicolas, 2017. "Prize allocation and incentives in team contests," CEPR Discussion Papers 12493, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Crutzen, Benoît S Y & Flamand, Sabine & Sahuguet, Nicolas, 2020. "A model of a team contest, with an application to incentives under list proportional representation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 182(C).
    8. 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.
    9. Gomberg, Andrei & Gutiérrez, Emilio & López, Paulina & Vázquez, Alejandra, 2019. "Coattails and the forces that drive them: Evidence from Mexico," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 64-81.
    10. Gavoille, Nicolas, 2018. "Who are the ‘ghost’ MPs? Evidence from the French parliament," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 134-148.
    11. Björn Kauder & Niklas Potrafke & Marina Riem, 2017. "Do Parties Punish MPs for Voting Against the Party Line?," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 63(3), pages 317-332.
    12. Luigi Marattin & Tommaso Nannicini & Francesco Porcelli, 2019. "Revenue vs Expenditure Based Fiscal Consolidation: The Pass-Trough from Federal Cuts to Local Taxes," Working Papers 644, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    13. Vincenzo Galasso & Tommaso Nannicini, 2017. "Political selection under alternative electoral rules," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 171(3), pages 257-281, June.
    14. Federico Quaresima & Fabio Fiorillo, 2020. "The economics of politics: patronage and political selection in Italy," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 27-48, March.
    15. Jaakko Meriläinen & Janne Tukiainen, 2018. "Rank effects in political promotions," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 177(1), pages 87-109, October.
    16. Maria Rosaria Alfano & Anna Laura Baraldi & Erasmo Papagni, 2020. "Do Voters Choose Better Politicians than Political Parties? Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Italy," Working Papers 2020.24, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    17. Paula González & Francesca Passarelli & M. Socorro Puy, 2019. "Discipline, party switching and policy divergence," Working Papers 19.05, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Department of Economics.
    18. Paola Profeta & Eleanor Woodhouse, 2018. "Do Electoral Rules Matter for Female Representation?," CESifo Working Paper Series 7101, CESifo.
    19. Benoit S Y Crutzen & Hideo Konishi & Nicolas Sahuguet, 2021. "The Best at the Top? Candidate Ranking Strategies Under Closed List Proportional Representation," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 21-039/VII, Tinbergen Institute.
    20. Klara Svitakova & Michal Soltes, 2020. "Sorting of Candidates: Evidence from 20,000 Electoral Ballots," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp652, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    21. Björn Kauder & Niklas Potrafke, 2017. "Gibt es Schelte für Bundestagsabgeordnete, die nicht mit ihrer eigenen Partei stimmen?," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 70(12), pages 26-29, June.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    closed party lists; electoral rule; political selection;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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