Voter Information and Power Dilution: Evidence from Sicilian Provincial Elections
Posted: 4 Jan 2005
It is generally accepted that an increase in the amount of voter information is desirable. As Reisman (1990) points out, a well-informed and committed electorate is better able to exercise rational choice and consequently is less likely to have its wishes being thwarted by elected representatives. In this connection, a crucial question relates to the effect of increased voter information on power of elected representatives. In other words, does increased voter information dilute or increase the power of political parties? From the answer to this question flow numerous conclusions about the size of rents enjoyed by political parties under differing electoral systems. We use data from Sicilian provincial elections (1985 and 1990) to examine the empirical relationship between voter information and power dilution. We use Olson's theory of groups to derive measures of voter information, following a methodology developed in Mudambi, Navarra, and Nicosia (1996). We use a measure of power dilutio proposed by Capron and Kruseman (1988) and suggest an adjustment to correct it for truncation bias.We then examine the relationship between voter information and power dilution.
Keywords: elections, voter information, plurality, proporionality, learning
JEL Classification: D72, D71, H11
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