Plurality Rule vs. Proportional Representation. How Much of a Difference Do Electoral Rules Make? Evidence from Germany
33 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2000
Date Written: August 2000
This paper examines the importance of electoral rules for legislators' behavior. It uses a quasi-natural experiment that assigns whether legislators are elected under the "first-pass-the-post" (FPTP), or the proportional representation (PR) electoral rule. The experiment is generated by the current German electoral system. This approach can identify the effect of electoral rules on legislators' behavior without being subject to a simultaneous equation bias. This approach can disentangle whether so-called pork barrel politics are due to political climate in a country or due to the electoral rule employed. We find that the FPTP system gives legislators incentives to service their geographically based constituency as evidenced by their committee assignments. Legislators elected through PR seek committees that service the party constituencies, which are not necessarily geographically based.
JEL Classification: D7, H0
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation