Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 9 No. 1 (Winter 1995)


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Using District Magnitude to Regulate Political Party Competition

Article Citation

Rae, Douglas W. 1995. "Using District Magnitude to Regulate Political Party Competition." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 9(1): 65-75.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.9.1.65


This is an essay about the use of districting systems to regulate electoral outcomes and the evolution of party systems. By changing the number of seats from each district, a balance can be struck between the often conflicting goals of minority representation and defractionalization. Defractionalization is the process of forming broad-based governing majorities. Special attention is given to the electoral systems of Italy, Spain, and the United States. In the case of the United States, the author recommends a proportional representation system that mixes high-magnitude districts that encourage minority representation and low-magnitude districts that promote defractionalization.

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Rae, Douglas W. (Yale School of Management)

JEL Classifications

D72: Models of Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior


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