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Parliaments as Condorcet Juries: Quasi-Experimental Evidence on the Representation of Majority Preferences


  • David Stadelmann
  • Reiner Eichenberger
  • Marco Portmann


In parliament, individual representatives vote with a certain probability according to their constituents’ preferences. Thus, the mechanism of the Condorcet Jury Theorem can be fruitfully applied to parliamentary representation: The probability that a majority of representatives votes according to the preferences of the majority of their constituents increases with the number of representatives per district. The political economy literature has so far disregarded this aspect. We provide a theoretical discussion and quasi-experimental evidence for the validity of the Condorcet Jury Theorem in parliamentary representation by contrasting unique data from parliamentary roll call votes and popular referenda decisions.

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  • 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).
  • Handle: RePEc:cra:wpaper:2011-14

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Roger Congleton, 2007. "Informational limits to democratic public policy: The jury theorem, yardstick competition, and ignorance," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 132(3), pages 333-352, September.
    2. John G. Matsusaka, 1992. "Economics of Direct Legislation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 541-571.
    3. Daniel Berend & Luba Sapir, 2007. "Monotonicity in Condorcet’s Jury Theorem with dependent voters," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 28(3), pages 507-528, April.
    4. Frey, Bruno S, 1994. "Direct Democracy: Politico-economic Lessons from Swiss Experience," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 338-342, May.
    5. Frey, Bruno S, 1997. "A Constitution for Knaves Crowds Out Civic Virtues," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(443), pages 1043-1053, July.
    6. Bohnet, Iris & Frey, Bruno S, 1994. "Direct-Democratic Rules: The Role of Discussion," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(3), pages 341-354.
    7. 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.
    8. 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).
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    Cited by:

    1. Marco Portmann & David Stadelmann & Reiner Eichenberger, 2012. "District magnitude and representation of the majority’s preferences: Evidence from popular and parliamentary votes," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 151(3), pages 585-610, June.
    2. 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.

    More about this item


    Condorcet Jury Theorem; Preference Aggregation; Voting Behavior; Legislature; Political Representation;

    JEL classification:

    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General

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