The Political Economy of Italian Electoral Reform
The Locke Institute series
Chapter 3: The Economics of Elections – A Review of the Literature
59 logic, mathematical welfare economics or game theory. The second theoretical tradition of electoral studies, less formal and more interested in concrete political problems, gave birth to scientiﬁc contributions by scholars such as Duverger (1954), Rae (1971), Sartori (1976), Lijphart (1984, 1994) and Taagepera and Shugart (1989). In this chapter, the literature concerned with the role played by elections in democratic systems is reviewed in an attempt to answer questions raised by political theorists with methods of analysis used by formal theorists. The purpose here is to provide a survey of the work done on this topic, identifying and exploring the main theoretical and empirical ﬁndings and insights that have arisen in the literature. The chapter proceeds as follows. In line with the way in which the deﬁnition of economics given by Samuelson applies to the study of electoral phenomena, we structure the chapter in four sections. In Section 3.1 the literature dealing with the eﬀects that elections generate on the economy is reviewed. In particular, two aspects of the relationship between elections and macroeconomics are considered here. The ﬁrst concerns the existence of electoral cycles that allow ties between elections and macroeconomic policies, and the second considers elections as instruments for choosing from among alternative approaches to macroeconomic policy associated with diﬀerent political parties. In Section 3.2, we discuss that part of the economics literature studying the eﬀects of elections on individuals’ choice. More speciﬁcally, models and theories investigating the variations in electoral...
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