Project

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Local candidate elections under proportional representation: magic combination or confusing incentives?

Applicant Bochsler Daniel
Number 137805
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Institut für Politikwissenschaft Universität Zürich
Institution of higher education University of Zurich - ZH
Main discipline Political science
Start/End 01.05.2012 - 31.10.2015
Approved amount 184'076.00
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Keywords (4)

Electoral systems; Political institutions; Contamination effects; Party systems

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary

In countries all around the world, different pressuresare coming into play in a push towards more proportional electoral systems (PR).At the same time, many lawmakers are reluctant to abandon old electoral systemswith small districts or plurality or majority vote systems with single-seatdistricts. They either praise the direct and local link that small electoraldistricts establish between voters and representatives, or they appreciate theconcentrating effect of small electoral districts on party systems, and thegains that result for the largest political parties. Under the pressure toproportionalise elections and the wish to stick to small districts, anincreasing number of countries and sub-states have moved towards novel, morecomplex electoral systems, which aim at reconciling both goals. Mixed electoral systems combine proportional representation (PR) with the majority or plurality vote in the same area.

Generally, lawmakers andacademics expect mixed electoral systems to serve different pur­po­ses,combining the advantages of proportional seat allocation at the national level withlocally anchored politicians and elections organised in local districts. In theacademic debate, mixed electoral systems have even be praised as combining the "best of bothworlds" – the antagonist worlds of PR, andelections by plurality or majority vote. 

Can these attemptssucceed? And how do political actors react to a mixture of differentinstitutional logics and incentives? Theoretically, this project is interestedin the political consequences of innovative combinations of politicalinstitutions.

Does the combination of genuinely different logics ofelectoral systems result in a combination of desirable properties? Or does the combinationof two types of electoral systems to lead to average effects, in between thetwo types? Only some studies have considered that the desired effects ofmulti-layered electoral systems might also spill over to the whole system – andsuch an effect is not always desirable.

This project studies the impact of mixed electoral systems on three dimensionsof representation: creation of party systems, electoral accountability, and legislative behaviour of members of parliament. 

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Automated Data Collection with R
Munzert Simon, Rubba Christian, Meissner Peter, Nyhuis Dominic (2015), Automated Data Collection with R, Wiley, Chichester.
Bending the Rules: Electoral Strategies Under Mixed Electoral Systems
Bochsler Daniel (2015), Bending the Rules: Electoral Strategies Under Mixed Electoral Systems, in Representation, 51(2), 261-267.
Strategic Incentives in Unconventional Electoral Systems: Introduction to the Special Issue
Bochsler Daniel, Bernauer Julian (2014), Strategic Incentives in Unconventional Electoral Systems: Introduction to the Special Issue, in Representation, 50(1), 1-12.
Which mixed-member proportional electoral formula fits you best? Assessing the proportionality principle of positive vote transfer systems
Bochsler Daniel (2014), Which mixed-member proportional electoral formula fits you best? Assessing the proportionality principle of positive vote transfer systems, in Representation, 50(1), 113-127.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Universität Augsburg - Institut für Mathematik Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
DETERMINANTS AND CONSEQUENCES OF PREFERENCE VOTING: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS Talk given at a conference Getting the constituencies right: When are mixed-member electoral systems proportional? 17.11.2014 Sapienza University, Roma, Italy Bochsler Daniel;
MZES Research Colloquium Individual talk Promises you can't keep: the self-betrayal of mixed-member proportional electoral systems 29.04.2013 MZES Mannheim, Germany Bochsler Daniel;


Knowledge transfer events



Self-organised

Title Date Place
Das Wahlrecht in der Schweiz im Umbruch 30.01.2014 Bern, Switzerland

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Talks/events/exhibitions Verhältniswahl mit regionaler Sitzgarantie für den Walliser Staatsrat. Hearing at Cantonal Parliamen Western Switzerland 2014
Media relations: print media, online media Vorbilddemokratie im Kanton Bern Der Bund German-speaking Switzerland 2014
Media relations: radio, television Bi-proportionale und gemischte Wahlsysteme (Schweiz und Japan) Swissinfo German-speaking Switzerland Italian-speaking Switzerland International Rhaeto-Romanic Switzerland Western Switzerland 2013
Media relations: print media, online media Bündnisstrategien für eine bürgerliche Wende. Szenarien für die Zürcher Stadtratswahlen 2014 NZZ German-speaking Switzerland 2013
Other activities Listenverbindungen + biproportionale Wahlsysteme (Veranstaltung mit Politikern) German-speaking Switzerland Italian-speaking Switzerland Western Switzerland 2013

Abstract

In countries all around the world, different pressures are coming into play in a push towards more proportional electoral systems (PR). At the same time, many lawmakers are reluctant to abandon old electoral systems with small districts or plurality or majority vote systems with single-seat districts. They either praise the direct and local link that small electoral districts establish between voters and representatives, or they appreciate the concentrating effect of small electoral districts on party systems, and the gains that result for the largest political parties. Under the pressure to proportionalise elections and the wish to stick to small districts, an increasing number of countries and sub-states have moved towards novel, more complex electoral systems, which aim at reconciling both goals. Multi-layered electoral systems establish two levels of seat allocation. They either fully belong to the PR family, but the seat allocation occurs both in local electoral districts and at the national level (e.g., bi-proportional systems and other multi-tier PR systems). Or, they combine aspects of PR and plurality or majority vote, so that each voter elects her representative by plurality or majority vote in single-seat districts, and by PR in a large, usually countrywide, district.The expectations in different kinds of multi-layered electoral systems are high: They should combine an element of regional representation with a countrywide proportional seat allocation, and they should combine direct elections of local representatives with party-based elections. Due to this seemingly magic combination of properties, they are appreciated both by lawmakers and academics. Mixed electoral systems (a subgroup of multi-layered systems) have even be praised as combining the "best of both worlds" - the antagonist worlds of proportional representation (PR), and elections by plurality or majority vote (Shugart and Wattenberg, 2001a: 592-6).Does the combination of genuinely different logics of electoral systems result in a combination of desirable properties? Or does the combination of two types of electoral systems to lead to average effects, in between the two types? Only few studies have considered that the desired effects of multi-layered electoral systems might also spill over to the whole system - and such an effect is not always desirable.This project identifies several types of multi-tiered electoral systems, and studies their impact on three dimensions of representation. It looks at the partisan dimension of elections and the creation of stable party systems, and at electoral accountability, asking the question; how can voters control their representatives, and how can they punish them, if necessary? Finally, it looks at legislative behaviour and the representation of local versus national (party-linked) interests.
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