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
We examine the eï¬€ect 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 1946â€“2013. We show that a minority groupâ€™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 groupâ€™s settlement area follow the same pattern. We reproduce the main results by two separate identiï¬ cation strategiesâ€”(i) instrumenting colonyâ€™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 importanteï¬€ectsonpowerinequalityacrossminorities, andconsequently, theirwell-being.
Keywords: Electoral systems; minorities; political representation; settlement patterns (search for similar items in EconPapers)
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