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Voting in Legislative Elections under Plurality Rule

8 October 2012
Ex Boccherini - Piazza S. Ponziano 6 (Conference Room )
This paper introduces a model of three-party competition in a legislative election held under plurality rule. Under this rule, many districts hold simultaneous plurality (a.k.a. first-past-the-post) elections and the winner of each district takes a seat in the legislature. Once all seats are filled, the elected politicians bargain over the formation of government and implement a policy. Plurality rule elections with three choices typically have two negative properties (a) non-centrist parties can always win a majority, regardless of voter preferences, and (b) some voters always engage in misaligned voting i.e. they do not vote for their preferred choice. In this paper, I show that when district plurality elections form part of a legislative election, these two negative properties do not hold. I derive the conditions required for a non-centrist majority and for misaligned voting to occur under four different legislative bargaining rules. These rules vary the order of formateur selection, the patience of parties, the ability to make transfers, and the existence of a status quo policy. Finally, I show that when parties are impatient, a fixed order rule will lead to more coalition governments than a random order rule.
Hughes, Niall