The Department of Government
The Department of Government

Comparative Speaker Series- Pablo Pinto (Univ of Houston)

“Constituency Representation under Closed List Proportional Representation"

Mon, April 22, 2019 | BAT 5.108

12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Abstract: Political scientists have argued that party-centered electoral rules, such as closed-list proportional representation (PR) systems, create incentives for legislators to favor the role of party labels over the representation of parochial constituencies. Yet even under PR individual legislators may have incentives to cultivate a personal vote. Moreover, other institutional features such as the distribution of power between federal and state government can affect legislators’ incentives to vote against the party line. Relying on original data of comparable ideal point estimates from voters and legislators in Argentina—which we estimate from a public opinion survey and a survey of lawmakers— we evaluate whether partisan constituencies, district traits, and institutional characteristics affect legislators’ ideal points. We find evidence that legislators’ roll call decisions are influenced by their partisan link to their district governor, their district’s dependence on largess from the central government, voters’ ideology, and voters’ evaluation of the President. Our findings suggest that even when institutionally constrained by electoral rules to respond to party leaders, the influence of other principals such as governors and local constituents can creep up to affect legislators’ choices.

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