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

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  • Marco Portmann
  • David Stadelmann
  • Reiner Eichenberger

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Marco Portmann & David Stadelmann & Reiner Eichenberger, 2010. "District Magnitude and Representation of the Majority?s Preferences: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from Popular and Parliamentary Votes," CREMA Working Paper Series 2010-13, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  • Handle: RePEc:cra:wpaper:2010-13
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. David Stadelmann & Benno Torgler, 2012. "Bounded Rationality and Voting Decisions Exploring a 160-Year Period," Working Papers 2012.70, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    2. Stadelmann, David & Portmann, Marco & Eichenberger, Reiner, 2015. "Military careers of politicians matter for national security policy," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 142-156.
    3. David Stadelmann & Reiner Eichenberger & Marco Portmann, 2011. "Parliaments as Condorcet Juries: Quasi-Experimental Evidence on the Representation of Majority Preferences," CREMA Working Paper Series 2011-14, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    4. Stadelmann, David & Portmann, Marco & Eichenberger, Reiner, 2015. "Income and policy choices: Evidence from parliamentary decisions and referenda," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 117-120.
    5. Marco Portmann & David Stadelmann & Reiner Eichenberger, 2013. "District magnitude and representation of the majority’s preferences—a reply and new perspectives," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 154(1), pages 149-151, January.
    6. Stadelmann, David & Portmann, Marco & Eichenberger, Reiner, 2014. "The law of large districts: How district magnitude affects the quality of political representation," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 128-140.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Median Voter; Political Economy; Electoral Systems;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • H00 - Public Economics - - General - - - General

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