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.