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

See all articles by Andrew Beath

Andrew Beath

World Bank

Fotini Christia

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

Georgy Egorov

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management; NBER

Ruben Enikolopov

New Economic School; Institute of Political Economy and Governance; ICREA; Universitat Pompeu Fabra; 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 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 ( 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 )

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United States

Ruben Enikolopov

New Economic School ( email )

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Russia

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

Barcelona GSE ( email )

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

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