Who Represents Whom? Strategic Voting and Conservatism in Legislative Elections

43 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2005

See all articles by Tilman Klumpp

Tilman Klumpp

University of Alberta, Department of Economics

Date Written: November 7, 2005


This paper examines voting equilibria in a citizen-candidate model of indirect democracy. Voters are partitioned into constituencies and elect representatives into a legislative assembly to bargain over policy. In the bargaining phase, representatives both make policy proposals and vote on each others' proposals. The model thus formalizes the distinction between advocated policy and enacted policy in representation problems. Under the advocated policy aspect, constituents prefer representatives whose preferences are close to their own. Under the enacted policy aspect, constituents want representatives who prefer less change of the status quo than they do, as this helps to insure against extreme policy outcomes. If this second motive is strong enough, citizens elect conservative legislators who are relatively reluctant to change the status quo. We show that this happens when constituencies are sufficiently hetero geneous with respect to their policy preferences. Our results shed light on a number of political phenomena. Particular attention is devoted to the issue of reform obstacles. We show show that legislative resistance to reform can arise in equilibrium even for projects that enjoy broad popular support in the electorate. Unlike in existing models, however, the reform deadlock is incomplete, and some reform will be undertaken in equilibrium.

Keywords: Political Representation, Citizen-Candidate Model, Strategic Delegation, Conservatism, Economic Reform

JEL Classification: D72, D78

Suggested Citation

Klumpp, Tilman, Who Represents Whom? Strategic Voting and Conservatism in Legislative Elections (November 7, 2005). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=845606 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.845606

Tilman Klumpp (Contact Author)

University of Alberta, Department of Economics ( email )

Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2R3

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