Group Decision and Negotiation

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 181–196 | Cite as

An Election Method to Improve Policy Representation of a Parliament



Since voters are often swayed more by the charisma, personal image and communication skills of the individual candidates standing for election than by the parties’ political manifestos, they may cast votes that are actually in opposition to their policy preferences. Such a type of behavior, known as ‘irrational voting’, results in the election of representatives who do not correspond exactly to the voters’ own views. The example of the 2013 German Bundestag shows that the method used to elect it results in inadequate policy representation. The analysis of these elections (see, Tangian, 2016) led to an alternative method which is discussed in this paper. In the alternative method the voters’ policy preferences are taken into account explicitly by means of embedded referenda, testing the matching of the candidates’ policy profiles with that of the electorate. Then the parties are indexed, not with respect to the percentage of votes received but with respect to their representativeness indices of popularity (the average percentage of the population represented) and universality (frequency in representing a majority), as introduced in the previous paper mentioned. The method is then hypothetically applied to redistribute the Bundestag seats among the party factions, producing a considerable gain in the representativeness of the Bundestag. Finally, we discuss mixed election procedures combining the elements of traditional voting schemes with the proposed method.


Policy representation Representative democracy Direct democracy Elections Coalitions Theory of voting 

JEL Classification



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI) at the Hans Böckler FoundationDüsseldorfGermany
  2. 2.Karlsruhe Institute of TechnologyKarlsruheGermany

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