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Majority, proportionality, governability and factions

  • Migheli, Matteo


  • Ortona, Guido


Commonsense wisdom claims that majoritarian parliaments produce more efficient governments than proportional ones, because there are less decisors involved. Empirical evidence gives poor support to this claim. A possible explanation is that the real decisors may be not the parties, but the factions within them. We (a) assumed as factions of parties in system i the parties that provide the same government coalition in pure proportionality, (b) considered some stylized real cases, i.e. Germany, The Netherlands and Italy and (c) looked through simulation for a weight of factions such that governability is lower in FPTP than in threshold proportionality. In one case (The Netherlands) this can occur only under peculiar circumstances; in another one (Italy) it occurs for a high role of the factions, and in the last one it occurs also for a low role of the factions. Overall, our results provide support for the suggested hypothesis.

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Paper provided by Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS in its series POLIS Working Papers with number 122.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uca:ucapdv:122
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  1. Torsten Persson & Gerard Roland & Guido Tabellini, 2005. "Electoral Rules and Government Spending in Parliamentary Democracies," Levine's Working Paper Archive 784828000000000024, David K. Levine.
  2. Stefano Gagliarducci & Tommaso Nannicini & Paolo Naticchioni, 2007. "Electoral Rules And Politicians' Behavior: A Micro Test," Working Papers wp2007_0716, CEMFI.
  3. Alessandro Lizzeri & Nicola Persico, . ""The Provision of Public Goods Under Alternative Electoral Incentives''," CARESS Working Papres 98-08, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  4. Patricia Funk & Christina Gathmann, 2010. "How do Electoral Systems Affect Fiscal Policy? Evidence from State and Local Governments, 1890 to 2005," CESifo Working Paper Series 2958, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Aidt, T.S. & Dutta, Jayasri & Loukoianova, Elena, 2006. "Democracy comes to Europe: Franchise extension and fiscal outcomes 1830-1938," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 249-283, February.
  6. Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti & Roberto Perotti & Massimo Rostagno, 2002. "Electoral Systems And Public Spending," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(2), pages 609-657, May.
  7. 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.
  8. Mueller,Dennis C., 2003. "Public Choice III," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521894753.
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