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Group Size and Political Representation Under Alternate Electoral Systems

Sugat Chaturvedi () and Sabyasachi Das ()
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Sugat Chaturvedi: Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi
Sabyasachi Das: Department of Economics, Ashoka University

No 1008, Working Papers from Ashoka University, Department of Economics

Abstract: We examine the effect of group size of minorities on their representation in national government under majoritarian (MR) and proportional (PR) electoral systems. We ï¬ rst establish a robust empirical regularity using an ethnicity-country level panel data comprising 438 ethno-country minority groups across 102 democracies spanning the period 1946–2013. We show that a minority group’s population share has no relation with its absolute representation in the national executive under PR but has an inverted-U shaped relation under MR. The pattern is stable over time and robust to alternate speciï¬ cations. The developmental outcomes for a group proxied using stable nightlight emissions in a group’s settlement area follow the same pattern. We reproduce the main results by two separate identiï¬ cation strategies—(i) instrumenting colony’s voting system by that of the primary colonial ruler and, (ii) comparing the same ethnicity across countries within a continent. We argue that existing theoretical framework with a two group set up is not able to explain this pattern. Our proposed model incorporates the spatial distribution of multiple minority groups in a probabilistic voting model and justiï¬ es these patterns as equilibrium behavior. The data further validate a critical assumption of the model and its additional comparative static results. Our work highlights that electoral systems can have importanteffectsonpowerinequalityacrossminorities, andconsequently, theirwell-being.

Keywords: Electoral systems; minorities; political representation; settlement patterns (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm and nep-pol
Date: 2018-08
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