Mechanical and Psychological Effects of Electoral Reform

37 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2011

See all articles by Jon H. Fiva

Jon H. Fiva

Norwegian School of Management (BI) - Department of Economics

Olle Folke

Uppsala University - Department of Government

Date Written: June 30, 2011

Abstract

Duverger (1954) noted that changes in electoral systems will have two types of effects: mechanical effects, and reactions of political agents in anticipation of these, which he referred to as psychological effects. It is complicated to empirically separate the two effects since these occur simultaneously. In this paper we use a large set of counterfactual election outcomes to address this issue. Our application is based on a nationwide municipal electoral reform in Norway, which changed the seat allocation method from d’Hondt to modified Sainte-Lagüe. Even though this electoral reform is of a relatively small magnitude, we document substantial psychological effects.

JEL Classification: C100, H700

Suggested Citation

Fiva, Jon H. and Folke, Olle, Mechanical and Psychological Effects of Electoral Reform (June 30, 2011). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 3505, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1883398

Jon H. Fiva (Contact Author)

Norwegian School of Management (BI) - Department of Economics ( email )

Oslo
Norway

Olle Folke

Uppsala University - Department of Government ( email )

Scheelevägen 15 D
SE-223 70
Lund
Sweden

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