Electoral systems and the politics of coalitions : Why some democracies redistribute more than others

Abstract

We develop a general model of redistribution and use it to account for the remarkable variance in government redistribution across democracies. We show that the electoral system plays a key role because it shapes the composition of governing coalitions, whether these are conceived as electoral alliances between classes or alliances between class parties. Our argument implies a) that center-left governments dominate under PR systems, while center-right governments dominate under majoritarian systems, and b) that PR systems redistribute more than majoritarian systems. We test our argument on panel data for redistribution, government partisanship, and electoral system in advanced democracies. Prepared for presentation at the Juan March Institute, November 2004. A previous version of this paper was presented at the 2002 Annual Meetings of the American Political Science Association, Sheraton and Marriott Hotels, Boston, August 29 September 2, 2002. We thank Jim Alt, Klaus Armingeon, Neal Beck, David Brady, Geoffrey Brennan, Thomas Cusack, Jeff Frieden, Robert Goodin, Peter Hall, Peter Lange, Peter Katzenstein, Ron Rogowski, Frances Rosenbluth, Fritz Scharpf, Ken Shepsle and Michael Wallerstein for their many helpful comments. 1

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Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Iversen2004ElectoralSA, title={Electoral systems and the politics of coalitions : Why some democracies redistribute more than others}, author={Torben Iversen}, year={2004} }