Party Nomination Strategies in List Proportional Representation Systems
74 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2019 Last revised: 8 Jul 2020
Date Written: July 23, 2019
In list proportional representation (PR) systems, parties shape political selection. We propose a theory of party list choice and elections in list PR systems. Our results describe how a party allocates candidates of heterogenoeus quality across list ranks depending on (1) its electoral goals and (2) its competitive environment. We test our predictions on the universe of Swedish local politicians from 1991 to 2014. While parties assign better candidates to higher ranks at all ballot levels, the pattern is most pronounced among electorally advantaged parties, i.e., those with the strongest prospect of controlling the executive. These results contrast with existing accounts of candidate selection, which emphasize that parties prioritize candidate quality in their nomination strategies only when constrained by electoral incentives. Our results, instead, suggest that the principal demand for high-quality politicians derives from parties, rather than voters.
Keywords: Candidate Selection, Proportional Representation, Party List
JEL Classification: D72
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