Mitigating the tradeoff between proportionality and accountability in electoral systems: Evidence from the Italian Senate 1994-2006

Alpino, Matteo

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URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-546405
Document Type: Working paper
Year of publication: 2020
The title of a journal, publication series: ZEW Discussion Papers
Volume: 20-002
Place of publication: Mannheim
Publication language: English
Institution: Sonstige Einrichtungen > ZEW - Leibniz-Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung
MADOC publication series: Veröffentlichungen des ZEW (Leibniz-Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung) > ZEW Discussion Papers
Subject: 330 Economics
320 Political science
Classification: JEL: D72,
Keywords (English): Electoral rules , mixed electoral systems , comparative political economy
Abstract: First-past-the-post elections in single-member districts make legislators more accountable to their district of election compared to proportional electoral systems. Accountability makes politicians more sensitive to voters' preferences when deciding where and how to allocate public expenditure, and also reduces rent extraction. On the other hand, first-past-the-post elections generate overrepresentation of majority parties in parliament, potentially hurting minorities and democratic legitimacy. The mixed system used for Italian Senate elections in 1994, 1996 and 2001 mitigates this tradeoff: 3/4 of the seats are assigned to winners in single-member district elections (majoritarian tier), while the rest to the best runners-up based on party-level vote counts (proportional tier). The system mechanically compensates opposition parties, while keeping all legislators equally accountable to their district. In fact, our empirical analysis based on close elections does not find significative differences in targeting of legislative activity to the district, and in absenteeism between senators of different tiers, contrary to what other studies find for mixed systems with two separate ballot lists.

Das Dokument wird vom Publikationsserver der Universitätsbibliothek Mannheim bereitgestellt.

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