Legislative Malapportionment and Institutional Persistence

33 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Miriam Bruhn

Miriam Bruhn

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Francisco A. Gallego

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Massimiliano Gaetano Onorato

University of Bologna - Department of Economics

Date Written: November 1, 2010

Abstract

This paper argues that legislative malapportionment, denoting a discrepancy between the share of legislative seats and the share of population held by electoral districts, serves as a tool for pre-democratic elites to preserve their political power and economic interests after a transition to democracy. The authors claim that legislative malapportionment enhances the pre-democratic elite?s political influence by over-representing areas that are more likely to vote for parties aligned with the elite. This biased political representation survives in equilibrium as long as it helps democratic consolidation. Using data from Latin America, the authors document empirically that malapportionment increases the probability of transitioning to a democracy. Moreover, the data show that over-represented electoral districts are more likely to vote for parties close to pre-democracy ruling groups. The analysis also finds that overrepresented areas have lower levels of political competition and receive more transfers per capita from the central government, both of which favor the persistence of power of pre-democracy elites.

Keywords: Parliamentary Government, Labor Policies, Emerging Markets, Political Economy, Political Systems and Analysis

Suggested Citation

Bruhn, Miriam and Gallego, Francisco A. and Onorato, Massimiliano Gaetano, Legislative Malapportionment and Institutional Persistence (November 1, 2010). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 5467. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1702129

Miriam Bruhn (Contact Author)

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Francisco A. Gallego

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Massimiliano Gaetano Onorato

University of Bologna - Department of Economics ( email )

Bologna
Italy

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
85
Abstract Views
761
rank
292,435
PlumX Metrics