Electoral Institutions and the Politics of Coalitions: Why Some Democracies Redistribute More than Others
18 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2008
Date Written: July 13, 2008
Standard political economy models of redistribution, notably that of Meltzer and Richard (1981), fail to account for the remarkable variance in government redistribution across democracies. We develop a general model of redistribution that explains why some democratic governments are more prone to redistribute than others. We show that the electoral system plays a key role because it shapes the nature of political parties and the composition of governing coalitions, hence redistribution. Our argument implies (1) that center-left governments dominate under PR systems, whereas center-right governments dominate under majoritarian systems; and (2) that PR systems redistribute more than majoritarian systems. We test our argument on panel data for redistribution, government partisanship, and electoral system in advanced democracies.
Keywords: redistribution, partisanship, electoral systems, parties, inequality
JEL Classification: H1, H5, I3
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation