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Majority protection: The origins of distorted proportional representation


Walter, André; Emmenegger, Patrick (2019). Majority protection: The origins of distorted proportional representation. Electoral Studies, 59:64-77.

Abstract

Not all proportional representation (PR) systems are equally proportional. Some PR systems favour large parties and are thus ’distorted’. What explains the origins of distorted PR? Research on the adoption of PR has identified both consensual and conflict-ridden roads to PR. We argue that these two roads to PR do not lead to the same outcome. We expect the adoption of PR by consensus to result in less proportional PR systems compared to cases in which PR is forced upon powerful parties. Empirically, we find no evidence that powerful parties introduced PR to grant minority groups better political representation. Instead, we show that when PR was adopted with the support of the most powerful party, reforms often resulted in distorted PR and small seat losses for the most powerful party.

Abstract

Not all proportional representation (PR) systems are equally proportional. Some PR systems favour large parties and are thus ’distorted’. What explains the origins of distorted PR? Research on the adoption of PR has identified both consensual and conflict-ridden roads to PR. We argue that these two roads to PR do not lead to the same outcome. We expect the adoption of PR by consensus to result in less proportional PR systems compared to cases in which PR is forced upon powerful parties. Empirically, we find no evidence that powerful parties introduced PR to grant minority groups better political representation. Instead, we show that when PR was adopted with the support of the most powerful party, reforms often resulted in distorted PR and small seat losses for the most powerful party.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Uncontrolled Keywords:Political Science and International Relations
Language:English
Date:1 June 2019
Deposited On:15 Nov 2022 15:53
Last Modified:28 Mar 2024 02:40
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0261-3794
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.electstud.2019.02.002
  • Content: Accepted Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)