Election laws, disproportionality and median correspondence: Implications for two visions of democracy
Comparative studies of election rules and legislative representation have focused intensively on vote-seat disproportionality as an indication of poor representation. Beginning with citizens' preferences, rather than votes, has important advantages and is especially more appropriate for a majoritarian vision of democracy. We analyse the effect of election rules on both vote-seat correspondence and median left-right correspondence in seventy elections in seventeen countries. We show theoretically the stringent conditions necessary to reduce vote-seat disproportionality in high threshold systems and empirically their high variance (and higher levels) of distortion. Although good median correspondence could be created, in theory, under a wide range of electoral systems, our empirical results suggest that proportional representation (PR) systems tend to outperform single-member district (SMD) systems by this criterion also.
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