Social Choice and Welfare

, 33:617 | Cite as

Liberal political equality implies proportional representation

  • Eliora van der Hout
  • Anthony J. McGannEmail author
Open Access
Original Paper


This article shows that for a single-vote electoral system for a representative body to treat all voters and all parties equally, it must produce results essentially identical to list proportional representation (PR). Democratic theory has often been agnostic concerning representative institutions. Different institutions have been compared in terms of behavioral outcomes rather than axiomatic properties. Building on van der Hout (Annual meeting of the Public Choice Society, San Diego, 2002) result, we show that for an electoral system to completely respect the principle of liberal political equality and popular sovereignty, its results must be equivalent to those of list PR.


Electoral System Vote Rule Allocation Rule Vote Share Proportional Representation 
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Open Access

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universiteit van TilburgTilburgThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of GovernmentUniversity of EssexColchesterUK
  3. 3.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of CaliforniaIrvineUSA

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