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A preliminary simulative assessment of disproportionality indices

Author

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  • Migheli, Matteo

    ()

  • Ortona, Guido

    ()

  • Ponzano, Ferruccio

    ()

Abstract

What do indices of disproportionality actually measure? They provide an aggregate estimation of the difference between votes cast and seats assignment, but the relation between the value of the indices and the will of the voters is highly questionable. The reason is that when casting the vote the voter is deeply affected by the electoral system itself, possibly more deeply than s/he understands. The aim of this paper is to assess the performance of the most used indices of disproportionality with respect to the will of voters. To do so we compare by simulation their performance in some major electoral systems and with reference to some stylised typical cases. We use as a benchmark a "true" index, i.e. an index that measures the difference between the will of the voters (instead of the votes) and the assignment of seats. In our experiment all the indices considered perform poorly, with the unexpected exception of the Loosemore-Hanby index.

Suggested Citation

  • Migheli, Matteo & Ortona, Guido & Ponzano, Ferruccio, 2009. "A preliminary simulative assessment of disproportionality indices," POLIS Working Papers 116, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
  • Handle: RePEc:uca:ucapdv:116
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    File URL: http://polis.unipmn.it/pubbl/RePEc/uca/ucapdv/ortona129.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bissey, Marie-Edith & Ortona, Guido, 2007. "The program for the simulation of electoral systems ALEX4.1: what it does and how to use it," POLIS Working Papers 82, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
    2. Vani K. Borooah, 2002. "The Proportionality of Electoral Systems: Electoral Welfare and Electoral Inequality," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(1), pages 83-98.
    3. Stefania Ottone & Ferrucio Ponzano & Roberto Ricciuti, 2009. "Simulating Voting Rule Reforms for the Italian Parliament: An Economic Perspective," Czech Economic Review, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, vol. 3(3), pages 292-304, October.
    4. Loosemore, John & Hanby, Victor J., 1971. "The Theoretical Limits of Maximum Distortion: Some Analytic Expressions for Electoral Systems," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(04), pages 467-477, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Privileggi, Fabio, 2008. "On the transition dynamics in endogenous recombinant growth models," POLIS Working Papers 120, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
    2. Bondonio, Daniele, 2009. "Impact identification strategies for evaluating business incentive programs," POLIS Working Papers 129, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
    3. Piero Cavaleri & Michael Keren & Giovanni B. Ramello & Vittorio Valli, 2009. "Publishing an E-Journal on a Shoe String: Is It a Sustainable Project?," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 89-101, March.
    4. Orso, Cristina Elisa, 2009. "Formal and informal sectors: Interactions between moneylenders and traditional banks in the rural Indian credit market," POLIS Working Papers 135, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
    5. Giuranno, Michele, 2009. "The logic of party coalitions with political activism and public financing," POLIS Working Papers 134, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Simulations; Representativity indices; Fitness of indices;

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • C15 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Statistical Simulation Methods: General
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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