Optimal districting with endogenous party platforms

Bracco, Emanuele (2013) Optimal districting with endogenous party platforms. Journal of Public Economics, 104. pp. 1-13. ISSN 0047-2727

PDF (Pre-print version of "Optimal Districting with Endogenous Party Platforms")
PUBEC3325.pdf - Draft Version
Available under License None.

Download (609kB)


Representation is one of the most important criteria by which to judge electoral systems. In this paper, I focus on one aspect of representative democracy: the formation of electoral district boundaries. It is well known that majoritarian systems give rise to highly biased seat–vote curves, causing representation to be less than ideal. What should, therefore, be the optimal constituency design when the objective is to maximize voters' welfare? I show that when parties take account of districting while setting platforms, then the district design problem reduces to a very simple rule: do nothing when voters are risk neutral, and — when voters are risk averse — choose a bias that is against the largest partisan group. Calibrating the model on data of the U.S. State legislative elections during the 1990s, I show that the welfare gain due to optimal districting is very small.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of Public Economics
Uncontrolled Keywords:
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
11 Jul 2011 21:30
Last Modified:
15 Feb 2022 03:38