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Electoral Rules and Politicians’ Behavior: A Micro Test

  • Gagliarducci, Stefano

    ()

    (University of Rome Tor Vergata)

  • Nannicini, Tommaso

    ()

    (Bocconi University)

  • Naticchioni, Paolo

    ()

    (University of Rome 3)

Theory predicts that the majoritarian electoral system should produce more targeted redistribution and lower politicians’ rents than proportional representation. We test these predictions using micro data for the mixed-member Italian House of Representatives, which allow us to sidestep the identification problems of previous studies based on country-level data. In particular, we address the nonrandom selection into different electoral systems by exploiting a distinctive feature of the Italian two-tier elections from 1994 to 2006: candidates could run for both the majoritarian and the proportional tier, but if they won in both tiers they had to accept the majoritarian seat. Focusing on elections decided by a narrow margin allows us to generate quasi-experimental estimates of the impact of the electoral rule. The main results confirm theoretical predictions, as majoritarian representatives put forward a higher proportion of bills targeted at local areas and show lower absenteeism rates than their proportional colleagues.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3348.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 2011, 3 (3), 144-174
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3348
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  1. Alessro Lizzeri & Nicola Persico, . "The Provision of Public Goods Under Alternative Electoral Incentives," Penn CARESS Working Papers b96440ba0bfa06ca550ac40aa, Penn Economics Department.
  2. Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti & Roberto Perotti & Massimo Rostagno, 2002. "Electoral Systems and Public Spending," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(2), pages 609-657.
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  5. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini & Francesco Trebbi, 2001. "Electoral Rules and Corruption," NBER Working Papers 8154, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Torsten Persson & Gerard Roland & Guido Tabellini, 2006. "Electoral Rules and Government Spending in Parliamentary Democracies," Levine's Working Paper Archive 321307000000000706, David K. Levine.
  7. David S. Lee & Enrico Moretti & Matthew J. Butler, 2004. "Do Voters Affect or Elect Policies? Evidence from the U. S. House," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(3), pages 807-859.
  8. Persson, T. & Tabellini, G., 1998. "The Size and Scope of Government: Comparative Politics with Rational Politicians," Papers 658, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  9. Thomas Stratmann & Martin Baur, 2002. "Plurality Rule, Proportional Representation, and the German Bundestag: How Incentives to Pork-Barrel Differ Across Electoral Systems," CESifo Working Paper Series 650, CESifo Group Munich.
  10. A. Lizzeri & Persico N., 1999. "Provision of Public Goods Under Alternative Electral Incentives," Princeton Economic Theory Papers 99f4, Economics Department, Princeton University.
  11. Roger B. Myerson, 1998. "Theoretical Comparisons of Electoral Systems," Discussion Papers 1261, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  12. Papke, Leslie E & Wooldridge, Jeffrey M, 1996. "Econometric Methods for Fractional Response Variables with an Application to 401(K) Plan Participation Rates," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(6), pages 619-32, Nov.-Dec..
  13. 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 144-74, August.
  14. Wilbert van der Klaauw, 2008. "Regression-Discontinuity Analysis: A Survey of Recent Developments in Economics," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 22(2), pages 219-245, 06.
  15. Roger B. Myerson, 1991. "Effectiveness of Electoral Systems for Reducing Government Corruption: A Game-Theoretic Analysis," Discussion Papers 956, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  16. Imbens, Guido W. & Lemieux, Thomas, 2008. "Regression discontinuity designs: A guide to practice," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 615-635, February.
  17. Nicola Persico & José Carlos Rodríguez-Pueblita & Dan Silverman, 2007. "Factions and Political Competition," NBER Working Papers 13008, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Stefano Gagliarducci & Tommaso Nannicini & Paolo Naticchioni, 2007. "Outside Income and Moral Hazard: The Elusive Quest for Good Politicians," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-164, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  19. Hahn, Jinyong & Todd, Petra & Van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2001. "Identification and Estimation of Treatment Effects with a Regression-Discontinuity Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 201-09, January.
  20. Lee, David S., 2008. "Randomized experiments from non-random selection in U.S. House elections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 675-697, February.
  21. Daron Acemoglu, 2005. "Constitutions, Politics and Economics: A Review Essay on Persson and Tabellini's "The Economic Effect of Constitutions"," NBER Working Papers 11235, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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