District magnitude and representation of the majority’s preferences: a comment and reinterpretation
Drawing on new data that combine recorded votes from the Swiss National Assembly with canton-level referendum results on identical legislative proposals, Portmann et al. (Public Choice 151:585–610, 2012) develop an innovative strategy to identify the effect of district magnitude on the relationship between representatives and their constituents. We replicate PSE’s central result and also estimate a related model that allows for the possibility of non-monotonicity in the relationship between district magnitude and representatives’ deviance from referendum median voters. Our results indicate that representatives elected in low-magnitude multi-member districts deviate from canton-level majorities less than either MPs from single-member districts or those from high-magnitude multi-member districts.
KeywordsRepresentation Electoral systems District magnitude Switzerland
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