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Preferential Votes and Minority Representation

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  • Margherita Negri

    () (School of Economics and Finance, University of St Andrews)

Abstract

Under open list proportional representation, voters vote both for a party and for some candidates within its list (preferential vote). Seats are assigned to parties in proportion to their votes and, within parties, to the candidates obtaining the largest number of preferential votes. The paper examines how the number of candidates voters can vote for affects the representation of minorities in parliaments. I highlight a clear negative relationship between the two. Minorities are proportionally represented in parliament only if voters can cast a limited number of preferential votes. When the number of preferential votes increases, a multiplier effect arises, which disproportionately increases the power of the majority in determining the elected candidates.

Suggested Citation

  • Margherita Negri, 2017. "Preferential Votes and Minority Representation," Discussion Paper Series, School of Economics and Finance 201712, School of Economics and Finance, University of St Andrews.
  • Handle: RePEc:san:wpecon:1712
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    File URL: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~wwwecon/repecfiles/4/1712.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Chang, Eric C. C. & Golden, Miriam A., 2007. "Electoral Systems, District Magnitude and Corruption," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 37(01), pages 115-137, January.
    2. Stephen Coate & Michael Conlin, 2004. "A Group Rule–Utilitarian Approach to Voter Turnout: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1476-1504, December.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    proportional representation; open list; preferential vote; minority representation;

    JEL classification:

    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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