Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Electoral Institutions and the Politics of Coalitions: Why Some Democracies Redistribute More Than Others

  • TORBEN IVERSEN (a1) and DAVID SOSKICE (a2)
Abstract

Standard political economy models of redistribution, notably that of Meltzer and Richard (1981), fail to account for the remarkable variance in government redistribution across democracies. We develop a general model of redistribution that explains why some democratic governments are more prone to redistribute than others. We show that the electoral system plays a key role because it shapes the nature of political parties and the composition of governing coalitions, hence redistribution. Our argument implies (1) that center-left governments dominate under PR systems, whereas center-right governments dominate under majoritarian systems; and (2) that PR systems redistribute more than majoritarian systems. We test our argument on panel data for redistribution, government partisanship, and electoral system in advanced democracies.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Torben Iversen is Professor, Department of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138.
David Soskice is Research Professor, Department of Political Science, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708.
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

AartsKees, AndréBlais and HermannSchmitt. Forthcoming Political Leaders and Democratic Elections. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

AldrichJohn. 1993. “Rational Choice and Turnout.” American Journal of Political Science 37: 24678.

AlesinaAlberto, and EdwardGlaeser. 2004. Fighting Poverty in the US and Europe: A World of Difference. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Austen-SmithDavid. 2000. “Redistributing Income Under Proportional Representation.” Journal of Political Economy 108 (6): 123569.

BénabouRoland. 1996. “Inequality and Growth.” In National Bureau of Economic Research Macro Annual, ed. Ben S.Bernanke and Julio J.Rotemberg, Cambridge: MIT Press, Vol. 11, pp. 1174.

BesleyTimothy, and StephenCoate. 1997. “An Economic Model of Representative Democracy.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 112 (1): 85114.

BoixCarles. 1998. Political Parties, Growth and Equality. New York: Cambridge University Press.

BoixCarles. 1999. “Setting the Rules of the Game: The Choice of Electoral Systems in Advanced Democracies.” American Political Science Review 93: 60924.

Bradley DavidEvelyn Huber, StephanieMoller, FrançoisNielsen, and JohnStephens. 2003. “Distribution and Redistribution in Postindustrial Democracies.” World Politics 55 (2): 193228.

BradyDavid. 2003. “Rethinking the Sociological Measure of Poverty.” Social Forces 81 (3): 71552.

CastlesFrancis, and PeterMair. 1984. “Left-Right Political Scales: Some Expert Judgments.” European Journal of Political Research 12: 7388.

CoxGary W., and Jonathan N.Katz. 2002. Elbridge Gerry's Salamander: The Electoral Consequences of the Reappointment Revolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

GrossDonald A., and LeeSigelman. 1984. “Comparing Party Systems: A Multidimensional Approach.” Comparative Politics 16: 46379.

HibbsDouglas. 1977. “Political Parties and Macroeconomic Policy.” American Political Science Review 71 (December): 146787.

HicksAlexander, and DuaneSwank. 1992. “Politics, Institutions, and Welfare Spending in Industrialized Democracies, 1960–82.” American Political Science Review 86 (3): 64974.

HuberEvelyn, CharlesRagin, and JohnStephens. 1993. “Social Democracy, Christian Democracy, Constitutional Structure and the Welfare State.” American Journal of Sociology 99 (3): 71149.

HuberEvelyne, and John D.Stephens. 2001. Development and Crisis of the Welfare State: Parties and Policies in Global Markets. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

HuberJohn D., and RonaldInglehart. 1995. “Expert Interpretations of Party Space and Party Locations in 42 Societies.” Party Politics 1: 73111.

IversenTorben. 2005. Capitalism, Democracy and Welfare. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

KitscheltHerbert. 1994. The Transformation of European Social Democracy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

KorpiWalter. 1989. “Power, Politics, and State Autonomy in the Development of Social Citizenship—Social Rights During Sickness in 18 OECD Countries Since 1930.” American Sociological Review 54 (3): 30928.

LijphartArend. 1994. Electoral Systems and Party Systems: A Study of Twenty-Seven Democracies, 1945-90. New York: Oxford University Press.

LijphartArend. 1997. “Unequal Participation: Democracy's Unresolved Dilemma.” American Political Science Review 91: 114.

MackieThomas T., and RichardRose. 1991. The International Almanac of Electoral History, 3rd edition. London: Macmillan.

MeltzerAllan H., and Scott. F.Richard. 1981. “A Rational Theory of the Size of Government.” Journal of Political Economy 89: 91427.

MilanovicBranko. 2000. “The Median-Voter Hypothesis, Income Inequality, and Income Redistribution: An Empirical Test with the Required Data.” European Journal of Political Economy 16: 367410.

Monroe B. L.and A. G. Rose. 2002. “Electoral Systems and Unimagined Consequences: Partisan Effects of Districted Proportional Representation.” American Journal of Political Science 46 (1): 6789.

Osborne Martin J.and Al Slivinski. 1996. “A Model of Political Competition with CitizenCandidates.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 111 (1): 6596.

PerottiRoberto. 1996. “Growth, Income Distribution and Democracy: What the Data Say.” Journal of Economic Growth 1 (2): 14987.

PerssonTorsten, and GuidoTabellini. 1999. “The Size and Scope of Government: Comparative Politics with Rational Politicians.” European Economic Review 43: 699735.

Rogowski Ronaldand Mark Andreas Kayser. 2002. “Majoritarian Electoral Systems and Consumer Power: Price-level Evidence from the OECD Countries.” American Journal of Political Science 46 (3): 52639.

SchlesingerJames. 1984. “On the Theory of Party Organization.” Journal of Politics 46, 369400.

WarwickP. V. 1996. “Coalition Government Membership in West European Parliamentary Democracies.” British journal of Political Science 26 (4): 47199.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

American Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 0003-0554
  • EISSN: 1537-5943
  • URL: /core/journals/american-political-science-review
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 31
Total number of PDF views: 555 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 1060 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 26th June 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.