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Preference Representation and the Influence of Political Parties in Majoritarian vs. Proportional Systems: An Empirical Test


Electoral systems determine the role that representatives’ party affiliations play in political representation. According to conventional expectations, party affiliation drives the behavior of representatives when they are elected under a proportional system, while majoritarian systems mute the role of party affiliation by forcing politicians to converge to the median position of their constituency. This study directly tests these predictions within a common party system by matching referenda decisions of constituents with voting behavior of their representatives who are elected either under a majoritarian or proportional system.

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Department of Economics, University of Bayreuth (Germany), and Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA), Switzerland (email:; Department of Economics, University of Fribourg (Switzerland), and CREMA (email:; Department of Economics, University of Fribourg (Switzerland), and CREMA (email: We would like to thank Dennis Mueller, Mark Schelker and Ronny Freier for illuminating discussions, and three anonymous referees as well as the editor, Sona Golder, for their highly constructive remarks. Data replication sets are available at, and online appendices are available at

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British Journal of Political Science
  • ISSN: 0007-1234
  • EISSN: 1469-2112
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