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 10: Summary and Evaluation

Ram Mudambi, Pietro Maria Navarra and Giuseppe Sobbrio

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


Let us consider the political scene as a market whose supply side is made up of firms, which take the shape of political parties, and produce goods and services in the form of policies. On the demand side are placed consumers/voters who choose alternative policies with their votes (electoral choice) and buy them in exchange for the payment of a tax-price. As in any market, to work efficiently and effectively the political market needs to be regulated by a system of rules. Amongst the most important of them is the mechanism governing the way in which electoral choices become authoritative policies. It is in this framework that the study of alternative electoral systems, in their role of regulating the game in which democracy is practised (Grofman and Reynolds, 1997), has gained a central place in the line of research on constitutional choice. Many contributions in the literature have stressed the importance of electoral rules in terms of their impact on economic, social and political behaviour. However, the effects of different rules have typically been studied from a static perspective, without considering the dynamic consequences of alternative rules in the presence of change. In other words, the investigation of the reasons for a particular change on the one hand, and the consequences on the other, has not received sufficient attention. Undertaking a research project on constitutional reform with the aim of studying choices in the presence of change implied an analysis structured to investigate on the...

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