Rules, Choice and Strategy

Rules, Choice and Strategy

The Political Economy of Italian Electoral Reform

The Locke Institute series

Ram Mudambi, Pietro Maria Navarra and Giuseppe Sobbrio

This topical book analyses the change of electoral rules in Italy from proportional representation toward plurality. While Italy is used as the illustrative case, the analysis has far-ranging theoretical and practical implications, and will therefore be of interest to academics and researchers of political economy, constitutionalism and public choice.

Chapter 3: The Economics of Elections – A Review of the Literature

Ram Mudambi, Pietro Maria Navarra and Giuseppe Sobbrio

Subjects: economics and finance, public choice theory, politics and public policy, public choice


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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