Effective Democracy and Swing Voters: Evidence Based on Actual Voting Records
39 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2015
Date Written: January 3, 2015
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: Suggested Citation