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Plurality versus proportional electoral rule: study of voters' representativeness


  • Amedeo Piolatto

    (Universidad de Alicante)


Thinking of electoral rules, common wisdom suggests that proportional rule is more fair, since all voters are equally represented: at times, it turns out that this is false. I study the formation of both Parliament and Government; for the composition of the former I consider plurality and proportional rule; for the formation of the latter, I assume that parties play a non-cooperative game à la Rubinstein. I show that, unless parties are impatient to form a Government, proportional electoral rules translate into a more distortive distribution of power among parties than plurality rule; this happens because of the bargaining power of small parties during Government formation.

Suggested Citation

  • Amedeo Piolatto, 2009. "Plurality versus proportional electoral rule: study of voters' representativeness," Working Papers. Serie AD 2009-14, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  • Handle: RePEc:ivi:wpasad:2009-14

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1982. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 97-109, January.
    2. Diermeier, Daniel & Eraslan, Hülya & Merlo, Antonio, 2007. "Bicameralism and Government Formation," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 2(3), pages 227-252, August.
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    5. Norman Schofield, 1986. "Existence of a ‘structurally stable’ equilibrium for a non-collegial voting rule," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 51(3), pages 267-284, January.
    6. Massimo Morelli, 2004. "Party Formation and Policy Outcomes under Different Electoral Systems," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(3), pages 829-853.
    7. Emmanuelle Auriol & Robert Gary-Bobo, 2012. "On the optimal number of representatives," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 153(3), pages 419-445, December.
    8. James M. Snyder Jr. & Michael M. Ting & Stephen Ansolabehere, 2005. "Legislative Bargaining under Weighted Voting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 981-1004, September.
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    10. Diermeier, Daniel & Merlo, Antonio, 2004. "An empirical investigation of coalitional bargaining procedures," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 783-797, March.
    11. Tasos Kalandrakis, 2004. "Proposal Rights and Political Power," Wallis Working Papers WP38, University of Rochester - Wallis Institute of Political Economy.
    12. Amer, Rafael & Carreras, Francese & Gimenez, Jose Miguel, 2002. "The modified Banzhaf value for games with coalition structure: an axiomatic characterization," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 45-54, January.
    13. David P. Baron & Daniel Diermeier, 2001. "Elections, Governments, and Parliaments in Proportional Representation Systems," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(3), pages 933-967.
    14. Bandyopadhyay, Siddhartha & Oak, Mandar P., 2008. "Coalition governments in a model of parliamentary democracy," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 554-561, September.
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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.

    More about this item


    electoral systems; proportional rule; plurality rule; voters¿ representation.;

    JEL classification:

    • C71 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Cooperative 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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