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Plurality versus proportional electoral rule: which is most representative of voters?

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  • Amedeo Piolatto

    () (Universidad de Alicante)

Abstract

This study compares the representativeness of voters in the proportional electoral system with the situation under plurality rule. Representativeness is commonly measured by comparing parties’ received votes with their shares of seats in the Parliament; this implies that proportional rule should always better represent voters. A coalition within the Parliament, however, rules the country without interference and supports the government; when a coalition is formed, the pivotal role of small parties and the proposal right of the formateur can significantly impact the distribution of power. Focusing on the coalition formation stage, I demonstrate that the proportional rule is more representative only under very specific conditions. If these conditions are not met, introducing some distortions in the distribution of seats among parties can actually improve representativeness.

Suggested Citation

  • Amedeo Piolatto, 2009. "Plurality versus proportional electoral rule: which is most representative of voters?," Working Papers 2009/27, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
  • Handle: RePEc:ieb:wpaper:2009/12/doc2009-27
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Sonia Oreffice & Climent Quintana, 2009. "Anthropometry and Socioeconomics in the Couple: Evidence from the PSID," Working Papers 2009-22, FEDEA.
    2. Felix Arnold, 2013. "German MPs' Outside Jobs and Their Repercussions on Parliamentary Effort," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1340, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    3. Stadelmann, David & Portmann, Marco & Eichenberger, Reiner, 2014. "The law of large districts: How district magnitude affects the quality of political representation," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 128-140.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Electoral systems; proportional rule; plurality rule; voters’ representation;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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