Electoral Rules and Minority Representation in U.S. Cities

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Electoral Rules and Minority Representation in U.S. Cities

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dc.contributor.author Trebbi, Francesco
dc.contributor.author Aghion, Philippe
dc.contributor.author Alesina, Alberto
dc.date.accessioned 2010-11-08T21:42:10Z
dc.date.issued 2008
dc.identifier.citation Trebbi, Francesco, Philippe Aghion, and Alberto Alesina. 2008. Electoral Rules and Minority Representation in U.S. Cities. Quarterly Journal of Economics 123, no. 1: 325-357. en_US
dc.identifier.issn 0033-5533 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:4551793
dc.description.abstract This paper studies the choice of electoral rules and in particular the question of minority representation. Majorities tend to disenfranchise minorities through strategic manipulation of electoral rules. With the aim of explaining changes in electoral rules adopted by U.S. cities, particularly in the South, we show why majorities tend to adopt "winner-take-all" city-wide rules (at-large elections) in response to an increase in the size of the minority when the minority they are facing is relatively small. In this case, for the majority it is more effective to leverage on its sheer size instead of risking conceding representation to voters from minority-elected districts. However, as the minority becomes larger (closer to a fifty-fifty split), the possibility of losing the whole city induces the majority to prefer minority votes to be confined in minority-packed districts. Single-member district rules serve this purpose. We show empirical results consistent with these implications of the model in a novel data set covering U.S. cities and towns from 1930 to 2000. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Economics en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher MIT Press en_US
dc.relation.isversionof http://dx.doi.org/10.1162/qjec.2008.123.1.325 en_US
dash.license LAA
dc.title Electoral Rules and Minority Representation in U.S. Cities en_US
dc.type Journal Article en_US
dc.description.version Version of Record en_US
dc.relation.journal Quarterly Journal of Economics en_US
dash.depositing.author Alesina, Alberto
dc.date.available 2010-11-08T21:42:10Z

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  • FAS Scholarly Articles [7289]
    Peer reviewed scholarly articles from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Harvard University

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