Electoral Rules and Minority Representation in U.S. Cities
This paper studies the choice of electoral rules and in particular the question of minority representation. Majorities tend to disenfranchise minorities through strategic manipulation of electoral rules. With the aim of explaining changes in electoral rules adopted by U.S. cities, particularly in the South, we show why majorities tend to adopt "winner-take-all" city-wide rules (at-large elections) in response to an increase in the size of the minority when the minority they are facing is relatively small. In this case, for the majority it is more effective to leverage on its sheer size instead of risking conceding representation to voters from minority-elected districts. However, as the minority becomes larger (closer to a fifty-fifty split), the possibility of losing the whole city induces the majority to prefer minority votes to be confined in minority-packed districts. Single-member district rules serve this purpose. We show empirical results consistent with these implications of the model in a novel data set covering U.S. cities and towns from 1930 to 2000.
|Date of creation:||2008|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||Published in Quarterly Journal of Economics|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Littauer Center, Cambridge, MA 02138|
Web page: http://www.economics.harvard.edu/
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Patrick Hummel & Richard Holden, 2013.
NBER Working Papers
19340, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 2000.
"Incentives and Political Economy,"
Oxford University Press, number 9780198294245.
- Acemoglu,Daron & Robinson,James A., 2009.
"Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy,"
Cambridge University Press, number 9780521671422, June.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:4551793. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Office for Scholarly Communication)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.