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Preference Representation and the Influence of Political Parties in Majoritarian vs. Proportional Systems: An Almost Ideal Empirical Test

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  • David Stadelmann
  • Marco Portmann
  • Reiner Eichenberger

Abstract

Electoral systems determine the role party affiliations play in political representation. According to conventional expectations, politicians’ party affiliations should influence political representation when they are elected by proportional representation. In contrast, majoritarian systems force politicians to converge to the median position of their constituents, and party affiliation should play no or at least a much smaller role. We test these predictions with unique quasi-experimental data within a common party system by matching referenda decisions of constituents with voting behavior of their representatives, who are elected either by a majoritarian system or proportional representation.

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  • David Stadelmann & Marco Portmann & Reiner Eichenberger, 2012. "Preference Representation and the Influence of Political Parties in Majoritarian vs. Proportional Systems: An Almost Ideal Empirical Test," CREMA Working Paper Series 2012-03, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  • Handle: RePEc:cra:wpaper:2012-03
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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. Stefano Gagliarducci & Tommaso Nannicini & Paolo Naticchioni, 2011. "Electoral Rules and Politicians' Behavior: A Micro Test," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 144-174, August.
    3. Stadelmann, David & Portmann, Marco & Eichenberger, Reiner, 2012. "Evaluating the median voter model’s explanatory power," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 114(3), pages 312-314.
    4. Garrett, Thomas A, 1999. "A Test of Shirking under Legislative and Citizen Vote: The Case of State Lottery Adoption," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(1), pages 189-208, April.
    5. Eric Brunner & Stephen L. Ross & Ebonya Washington, 2013. "Does Less Income Mean Less Representation?," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 53-76, May.
    6. Krehbiel, Keith, 1993. "Constituency Characteristics and Legislative Preferences," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 76(1-2), pages 21-37, June.
    7. Ai, Chunrong & Norton, Edward C., 2003. "Interaction terms in logit and probit models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 123-129, July.
    8. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2002. "Political Economics: Explaining Economic Policy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661314, January.
    9. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135-135.
    10. 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.
    11. Lawrence Kenny & Babak Lotfinia, 2005. "Evidence on the importance of spatial voting models in presidential nominations and elections," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 123(3), pages 439-462, June.
    12. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 2008. "Issue Unbundling via Citizens' Initiatives," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 3(4), pages 379-397, December.
    13. Matsusaka, John G., 2010. "Popular Control of Public Policy: A Quantitative Approach," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 5(2), pages 133-167, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Niklas Potrafke, 2013. "Evidence on the political principal-agent problem from voting on public finance for concert halls," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 215-238, September.
    2. Jean-François Laslier & Bilge Ozturk Goktuna, 2016. "Opportunist politicians and the evolution of electoral competition," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 381-406, May.
    3. 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

    Keywords

    Constituents' Preferences; Party Influence; Median Voter Model; Political Economy;

    JEL classification:

    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations

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