Effective Democracy and Swing Voters: Evidence Based on Actual Voting Records

39 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2015

See all articles by Prasanna L. Tantri

Prasanna L. Tantri

Indian School of Business

Nagaraju Thota

BITS-Pilani Hyderabad Campus

Date Written: January 3, 2015

Abstract

Using actual voting records of simultaneous elections held for federal and regional assemblies - where same political parties contest against each other in both type of elections - we identify the swing voters in an electoral constituency. We compare the Parliamentary performance of elected representatives who enjoy high level of support among swing voters and those who enjoy low level of support among such voters. We measure performance of an elected representative based on her level of activity in Parliament. Specifically, we use attendance, number of questions asked, number of debates participated in and number of private member bills introduced as metrics for measuring performance. We find that representatives who enjoy high level of support among swing voters outperform others significantly in terms of all four parameters that we examine. The above differences are not explained by differences in observable candidate characteristics. We also find that reelection chances are more sensitive to performance in high swing constituencies. The above findings show that the presence of swing voters enhances the effectiveness of democratic institutions by significantly increasing activity level of such institutions.

Keywords: Democracy, Legislature, Elections, Performance of Government

JEL Classification: D72, D73, H11

Suggested Citation

Tantri, Prasanna L. and Thota, Nagaraju, Effective Democracy and Swing Voters: Evidence Based on Actual Voting Records (January 3, 2015). Indian School of Business Research Paper Series, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2544853 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2544853

Prasanna L. Tantri (Contact Author)

Indian School of Business ( email )

Hyderabad, Gachibowli 500 032
India
9160099959 (Phone)

Nagaraju Thota

BITS-Pilani Hyderabad Campus ( email )

Shameerpet
Medchal
Hyderabad, 500078
India

HOME PAGE: http://universe.bits-pilani.ac.in/Hyderabad/thotanagaraju/profile

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