The last shall be the first: failed accountability due to voters fatigue and ballot design
Guillermo Díaz and
UC3M Working papers. Economics from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía
We show how an institutional provision designed to increase accountability of local legislature officials can lead to a distribution of power within the legislature which is not consistent with voters' true preferences. The cause of this inconsistency is the ballot design which asymmetrically affects the officials listed on it. We analyze the case of the Lima's 2013 city legislature recall referendum and show that, controlling for the legislators' individual characteristics, the design of the referendum ballot had adverse and significant effects on the composition of the Lima's city legislature, and examine the counterfactuals of different ballot designs. We show that the election results with more "neutral" ballot designs would have been significantly different, and the composition of the new council would have been more representative of voters' preferences.
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