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District Magnitude and Representation of the Majority?s Preferences: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from Popular and Parliamentary Votes

Listed author(s):
  • Marco Portmann
  • David Stadelmann
  • Reiner Eichenberger

Members of parliament have more effective incentives to cater for the majority?s preferences when they are elected in districts with few seats in parliament rather than in districts with many seats. We empirically investigate this hypothesis by matching voting behavior on legislative proposals of Swiss members of parliament with real referenda outcomes on the same issues for the years 1996 to 2008. This quasi-experimental data allows us to identify the impact of electoral systems through district magnitude on how members of parliament represent citizens? preferences. We find systematic, statistically significant and economically relevant evidence that members of parliament from districts with few seats vote along the majority?s preferences.

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Paper provided by Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA) in its series CREMA Working Paper Series with number 2010-13.

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Date of creation: Aug 2010
Handle: RePEc:cra:wpaper:2010-13
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  1. Thomas Braendle & Alois Stutzer, 2010. "Public servants in parliament: theory and evidence on its determinants in Germany," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 145(1), pages 223-252, October.
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  12. Alessandro Lizzeri & Nicola Persico, "undated". ""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.
  13. Kevin Milligan & Michael Smart, 2005. "Regional Grants as Pork Barrel Politics," CESifo Working Paper Series 1453, CESifo Group Munich.
  14. Elisabeth R. Gerber & Jeffrey B. Lewis, 2004. "Beyond the Median: Voter Preferences, District Heterogeneity, and Political Representation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(6), pages 1364-1383, December.
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  16. Roger B. Myerson, 1991. "Effectiveness of Electoral Systems for Reducing Government Corruption: A Game-Theoretic Analysis," Discussion Papers 956, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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