On the Absence of Centripetal Incentives in Double-Member Districts: The Case of Chile
Comparative Political Studies, Vol. 31, No. 6, December 1998
42 Pages Posted: 29 Apr 2009
Date Written: July 15, 1997
In its final months, the Pinochet regime engineered a number of institutional reforms with the intent of bolstering the right side of the spectrum and of promoting “centripetal” political competition once democratic procedures were reinitiated in 1989. One of the most important reforms created 60 double-member districts for elections to the lower house. While some analysts have claimed that the new system does in fact promote centrist position taking, using game theory and spatial modeling, we demonstrate in this paper that the incentives of the Chilean electoral system encourage politicians to take non-centrist positions along a left-right spectrum. The combination of double-member districts with the d’Hondt seat allocation method and open-list voting creates a “Rival Partners Game,” creating perverse incentives for Chilean candidates. Our theoretical results help clarify the debate about the effects of post-authoritarian institutional reforms in Chile and should encourage empirical research on the same issues.
Keywords: Intra-party competition, binominal electoral system, Downsian democracy
JEL Classification: C72, D72
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation