Rules, Choice and Strategy
Show Less

Rules, Choice and Strategy

The Political Economy of Italian Electoral Reform

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.
Buy Book in Print
Show Summary Details
You do not have access to this content

Chapter 9: Election Simulation and the Nature of Constitutional Choices

Ram Mudambi, Pietro Maria Navarra and Giuseppe Sobbrio


Most democratic countries undertook fundamental reforms to their electoral systems more than fifty years ago. These countries are still using the principle of representation that was introduced during the first quarter of the twentieth century. This continuity is in part due to the high hurdles that must be cleared in most countries in order to undertake electoral reform. In fact, the principle of representation is often written into the constitution.1 Its reform, therefore, requires a qualified majority which, in turn, usually requires an agreement between the government and the opposition. This is the reason why some scholars have argued that electoral system reforms are usually the result of compromises between opposing political forces at a certain point in time (Nohlen, 1984, 1986; Shugart, 1992). Therefore, in this view the acceptance of an electoral system is not determined by its technical adequacy or theoretical consistency, but rather it is based on political compromise. Buchanan and Congleton (1998) suggest another approach in a recent book. They stress the distinction between unanimitarian constitutional politics and majoritarian post-constitutional politics. They focus on the fact that constitutional choices require bridging the gap between the pursuit of separately identified interests and agreement on rules that define the parameters within which social interaction will take place over a whole sequence of periods. This can be done either through the ‘veil of ignorance’ (Rawls, 1971; Harsanyi, 1975) and/or uncertainty (Buchanan and Tullock, 1962; Brennan and Buchanan, 1985). They argue that this is likely to occur...

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.

Further information

or login to access all content.