Quantifying Parliamentary Representation of Constituents' Preferences with Quasi-Experimental Data
We assess the effect of constituentsâ€™ preferences on legislatorsâ€™ decisions within a quasiexperimental setting: In the Swiss referendum process, citizens and legislators reveal their preferences for legislative proposals. We match roll call votes of all Swiss legislators on 102 legislative proposals with revealed constituentsâ€™ preferences on exactly the same issues from 1996 to 2008. The setting allows us to quantify the quality of parliamentary representation and we identify conditions which affect convergence between constituentsâ€™ preferences and legislatorsâ€™ decisions. Results show that a legislatorâ€™s probability to accept a law proposal increases by 16.8 percentage points when district voters accept the proposal.
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