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Endogenous Voting Weights for Elected Representatives and Redistricting


  • Justin Svec

    () (Department of Economics, College of the Holy Cross)

  • James Hamilton

    () (Department of Economics, College of the Holy Cross)


This paper analyzes the merits of a novel method of eliminating the power of a gerrymanderer that involves an endogenous weighting system for elected representatives. This endogenous weighting system ties the voting weight of elected representatives in the legislature to the share of the voters who voted for that representative's party and to the share of representatives elected from that party. If the weights are set correctly, it can be shown in simple voting models like Gilligan and Matsusaka (1999) that redistricting has no influence on the policy passed by the legislature. This benefit, though, is out-weighed by the fact that, in more realistic voting models, the gerrymanderer can manipulate the redistricting process to achieve greater policy bias than under the status quo.

Suggested Citation

  • Justin Svec & James Hamilton, 2013. "Endogenous Voting Weights for Elected Representatives and Redistricting," Working Papers 1307, College of the Holy Cross, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hcx:wpaper:1307

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stephen Coate & Brian Knight, 2007. "Socially Optimal Districting: A Theoretical and Empirical Exploration," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(4), pages 1409-1471.
    2. repec:cup:apsrev:v:81:y:1987:i:04:p:1251-1273_20 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Bracco, Emanuele, 2013. "Optimal districting with endogenous party platforms," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 1-13.
    4. Gilligan, Thomas W & Matsusaka, John G, 1999. "Structural Constraints on Partisan Bias under the Efficient Gerrymander," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 100(1-2), pages 65-84, July.
    5. Thomas Gilligan & John Matsusaka, 2006. "Public choice principles of redistricting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 129(3), pages 381-398, December.
    6. Faruk Gul & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2010. "Strategic Redistricting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1616-1641, September.
    7. repec:cup:apsrev:v:88:y:1994:i:03:p:541-559_09 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. John N. Friedman & Richard T. Holden, 2008. "Optimal Gerrymandering: Sometimes Pack, but Never Crack," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 113-144, March.
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    More about this item


    Redistricting; representative weights; gerrymander;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government

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