Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

Electoral Rules and Political Selection: Theory and Evidence from a Field Experiment in Afghanistan

81 Pages Posted: 10 Jul 2013 Last revised: 24 Sep 2015

Andrew Beath

World Bank - East Asia and Pacific Region

Fotini Christia

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Political Science

Georgy Egorov

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management; NBER

Ruben Enikolopov

Institute of Political Economy and Governance; ICREA; Universitat Pompeu Fabra; New Economic School; Barcelona GSE

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 10, 2014

Abstract

Voters commonly face a choice between competent candidates and those with policy preferences similar to their own. The paper explores how electoral rules, such as district magnitude, mediate this trade-off and affect the composition of representative bodies and policy outcomes. We show formally that anticipation of bargaining over policy causes voters in elections with multiple single-member districts to prefer candidates with polarized policy positions over more competent candidates. Results from a unique field experiment in Afghanistan are consistent with these predictions. Specifically, representatives elected in elections with a single multi-member district are better educated and exhibit less extreme policy preferences.

Suggested Citation

Beath, Andrew and Christia, Fotini and Egorov, Georgy and Enikolopov, Ruben, Electoral Rules and Political Selection: Theory and Evidence from a Field Experiment in Afghanistan (November 10, 2014). MIT Political Science Department Research Paper No. 2013-27. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2291187 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2291187

Andrew Beath (Contact Author)

World Bank - East Asia and Pacific Region ( email )

Washington, DC 20433
United States

Fotini Christia

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Political Science ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

Georgy Egorov

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

NBER ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Ruben Enikolopov

Institute of Political Economy and Governance ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, 08005
Spain

ICREA ( email )

Passeig Lluís Companys, 23
Barcelona, 08010
Spain

Universitat Pompeu Fabra ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, E-08005
Spain

New Economic School ( email )

47 Nakhimovsky Prospekt
Moscow, 117418
Russia

Barcelona GSE ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, Barcelona 08005
Spain

Paper statistics

Downloads
373
Rank
414,376
Abstract Views
1,489