U2IPERG -- the University of Illinois Political Economy Research Group -- is an association of University of Illinois faculty aimed at fostering international political economy research and related scholarly activities on a university-wide basis. Its goal is to bring together faculty from different disciplines and to facilitate exchange of ideas and information regarding political economy research and funding opportunities. This blog is an avenue of our electronic public engagement activities.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Do Electoral Rules Affect Government Spending in Parliamentary Democracies?

Today, we welcome a guest blogger, Brett Graham, who is giving u2IPERG readers a report on the latest seminar. Welcome Brett!

On October 20th at UIUC College of Business, Professor Gerard Roland from UC, Berkeley gave a presentation entitled, "Electoral Rules and Government Spending in Parliamentary Democracies", sponsored by the newly formed interdisciplinary group, U2IPERG (University of Illinois International Political Economy Group).

(editor's note: Professor Gerard's photo is seen to the right, courtesy of UCB)

Recent empirical work has shown that proportional election rules are associated with larger government spending than majoritarian electoral rules. There has also been significant theoretical research showing that coalitional governments tend to spend more than single party governments - the so called common pool problem.

Using a model of probabilistic voting and office motivated candidates, Roland and his co-authors, Torsten Persson and Guido Tabellini, fill in the missing link. In their model electoral rules only effect government spending indirectly, through the impact of electoral rules on the composition of government. The key assumption that drives these results is that voters cannot discriminate between different factions in a single party government but can do so in a coalitional government. As a result there are electoral conflicts in a coalitional government leading to an "electoral common pool problem".

Empirical support is found for the key implications of their model, that proportional election rules indirectly induce more government spending.

To read the entire paper, go here (pdf file).

Brett Graham is a UIUC doctoral student in Economics.

Tags: parliamentary rules, government spending, common pool, international political economy, u2IPERG, UIUC, University of Illinois, Torsten Persson, Guido Tabellini, Gerard Roland, UC-Berkeley


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