The Political Economy of Italian Electoral Reform
- The Locke Institute series
Chapter 3: The Economics of Elections – A Review of the Literature
3. The economics of elections: a review of the literature The principle of democracy shines at its best through elections and is founded in the act of voting. As put forward by Anthony Downs (1957), the democratic method is the process of participation, speciﬁcally through voting, in the management of society, where voting is understood to include all the ancillary institutions (like parties and pressure groups) and social principles (like freedom and equality) that are necessary to render it signiﬁcant. The scientiﬁc interest in studies analysing elections has been generally considered as deriving from contributions by political scientists and sociologists and, even today, many economists would argue that the issue of voting behaviour should be left out of their science. However, as Schram (1991) pointed out, there are three important reasons why economists should be interested in this ﬁeld. First of all, let us recall the deﬁnition of economics given by Samuelson (1976): ‘Economics is the study of how people and society end up choosing, with or without the use of money, to employ scarce productive resources that could have alternative uses’. The study of elections seems to fall within this deﬁnition: ‘the “scarce productive resources” are those used by the government and those employed in the act of voting, and one of the ways in which people and society end up choosing is by voting’ (Schram, 1991). The second and third reasons are interrelated and based on the fact that these studies provide explanations...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.