Plurality versus Proportional Representation: An Analysis of Sicilian Elections

Posted: 2 Nov 2004  

Ram Mudambi

Temple University - Department of Strategic Management

Pietro Navarra

University of Messina - Institute of Economics and Finance; London School of Economics & Political Science - CPNSS

Carmela Nicosia

University of Buckingham

Abstract

The competing merits of plurality and proportional representation have intrigued political economists and political scientists for quite some time. Of primary interest is whether one or the other system is better in serving the interests of the electorate. Since theoreticians are unable to unambiguously determine the answer to this question, the issue must ultimately be decided empirically.

We use data from Sicilian elections, where the system was recently altered towards the system of plurality. We are able to demonstrate that the proportional representation system engenders greater information among voters and elicits greater commitment from them than plurality. We are also able to show that in larger towns increased information causes a more dispersed vote under a proportional representation system; further, this result does not hold under plurality. This may have some implications for the size of positional rents reaped by political parties under the two electoral systems.

Keywords: Elections, plurality, proportional representation

JEL Classification: D72, D71, H11

Suggested Citation

Mudambi, Ram and Navarra, Pietro and Nicosia, Carmela, Plurality versus Proportional Representation: An Analysis of Sicilian Elections. Public Choice, Vol. 86, No. 3-4, pp. 341-357, March 1996. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=612642

Ram Mudambi (Contact Author)

Temple University - Department of Strategic Management ( email )

Fox School of Business and Management
Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States
215-204-2099 (Phone)
215-204-8029 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://sbm.temple.edu/~rmudambi/index.html

Pietro Navarra

University of Messina - Institute of Economics and Finance ( email )

Piazza Pugliatti 1
Messina
Sicilia, 98122
Italy
39-090-676-4446 (Phone)
39-090-292-0014 (Fax)

London School of Economics & Political Science - CPNSS ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
44-207-955-6820 (Phone)

Carmela Nicosia

University of Buckingham

Hunter Street
Department of Economics
Buckingham MK18 1EG
United Kingdom
44-1280-820120 (Phone)
44-1280-822245 (Fax)

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
1,811