Electoral thresholds and political representation

Item Type Journal paper
Abstract We rely on a reform in the German federal state of Hesse that abolished a 5 % electoral threshold for local elections to study the effects of electoral thresholds on political representation. The elimination of the threshold had, on average, a stronger effect on municipalities with larger councils since implicit (also known as effective) electoral thresholds are inversely correlated with council size. Using a dataset that includes all 426 Hessian municipalities over the period 1989–2011 and exploiting discontinuities in a state law that maps populations exogenously to council size, we implement a difference-in-discontinuities design. Our results show that the reform had large psychological effects that eventually improved the electoral prospects of (relatively small) local parties. In the short-run, however, the vote and seat shares of the large national parties increased. We offer some explanations for this finding.
Authors Baskaran, Thushyanthan & Lopes da Fonseca, Mariana
Journal or Publication Title Public Choice
Language English
Subjects economics
political science
HSG Classification contribution to scientific community
Refereed Yes
Date October 2016
Publisher Springer
Volume 169
Number 1/2
Page Range 117-136
ISSN-Digital 0048-5829
Publisher DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/s11127-016-0378-8
Depositing User Prof. PhD Mariana Lopes da Fonseca
Date Deposited 23 Mar 2020 08:35
Last Modified 20 Jul 2022 17:41
URI: https://www.alexandria.unisg.ch/publications/259807


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Baskaran, Thushyanthan & Lopes da Fonseca, Mariana (2016) Electoral thresholds and political representation. Public Choice, 169 (1/2). 117-136.


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