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An Economic Model of Strategic Electoral Rule Choice Under Uncertainty

  • Xefteris, Dimitrios

    (University of Cyprus)

  • Matakos, Kostas

    (University of Warwick)

We study electoral rule choice in a multi-party model where parties are office-motivated and uncertainty over the electoral outcome is present. We show that when all dominant parties (parties with positive probability of winning the elections) have sufficiently good chances of winning, then they agree to change the PR with a more majoritarian rule. We identify the exact degree of disproportionality of the new rule and we prove that it is increasing in the expected vote share of the minority parties (parties with zero probability of winning). The necessary and sufficient conditions for such collusion in favour of a majoritarian rule are: a) the high rents from a single-party government, b) sufficient uncertainty over the electoral outcome and c) ideological proximity of the dominant parties. Keywords: electoral reform, majority premium, single-party government, uncertainty, collusion.

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Paper provided by University of Warwick, Department of Economics in its series The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) with number 917.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:917
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  1. Selim Ergun, 2010. "From plurality rule to proportional representation," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 373-408, November.
  2. Palfrey, Thomas R, 1984. "Spatial Equilibrium with Entry," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(1), pages 139-56, January.
  3. Josep M. Colomer, 2005. "It's Parties That Choose Electoral Systems (or, Duverger's Laws Upside Down)," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 53, pages 1-21, 03.
  4. Jackson, Matthew O. & Barbera, Salvador, 2002. "Choosing How Choose: Self-Stable Majority Rules," Working Papers 1145, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  5. Carles Boix, 1999. "Setting the rules of the game: The choice of electoral systems in advanced democracies," Economics Working Papers 367, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
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