Political paradoxes may 15 2008
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Political Paradoxes, May 15, 2008. Today:. Evaluations Elections in Africa note Brief summary for last time Freakonomics chapter Democracy: Romania vs. Russia Discussion: polisci discipline. PR formulas. Two types of proportional electoral formulas:

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Today l.jpg

  • Evaluations

  • Elections in Africa note

  • Brief summary for last time

  • Freakonomics chapter

  • Democracy: Romania vs. Russia

  • Discussion: polisci discipline

Pr formulas l.jpg
PR formulas

  • Two types of proportional electoral formulas:

  • Largest remainders (e.g., Hamilton) – non-monotonic

  • Highest averages (e.g., Jefferson; also known as d’Hondt in Europe) - monotonic

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PR in Romania

  • In Romania, until 2004, PR for the Senate & Chamber of Deputies was a two-step process (see electoral law, Article 91, paragraphs 2-4/pp. 55-56, available at http://www.cdep.ro/proiecte/2004/400/20/0/leg_pl420_04.pdf )

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“Giurgiu Paradox”

  • The 1996 results for the Senate (Giurgiu):

    PDSR 46,810

    CDR 39,672 (35.37%)

    USD (PD + PSD) 16,680

    PRM 6,833

    PUNR 1,894

    UDMR 269 (0.23%)

    (see http://www.kappa.ro/guv/bec/j-sen.html)

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Who got the two Senate seats?

  • Giurgiu has two Senate seats

  • One Senate seat went to PDSR (the party received the largest number of votes in Giurgiu)

  • The second Senate seat went to UDMR (269 votes, or about 147 times less than the Democratic Convention); see

  • http://www.kappa.ro/guv/bec/p-sen.html

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Alabama Paradox:

  • What is AP? When it did occur? Why?

  • What is monotonicity?

  • Two types of formulas (monotonic vs. non-monotonic)

  • Alabama Paradox, population paradox, new states paradox

  • Fix(es) to AP? How to prevent it?

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Electoral Engineering in Chile

  • What were the bad news for the incumbents?

  • What were the good news?

  • What is the best electoral system in those circumstances? Why?

  • Did gerrymandering play a role in Chile?

  • Did the system work as intended?

  • Is it fair to call Chile a “limited democracy”?

Gerrymandering l.jpg

  • What is gerrymandering? Where does the name come from?

  • What types of electoral systems are most conducive to gerrymandering?

  • Purpose? (three kinds)

  • Techniques? (types)

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Simple example

  • A state (region, district, county, judet…) is entitled to three seats

  • Two parties (Dems & Reps)

  • We have nine neighborhoods, four with Democratic majorities, five with Republican majorities:

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Limited Vote in Britain

  • Why was the Limited Vote introduced?

  • What were the two main goals of electoral reform?

  • Describe how Limited Vote works

  • What were the actual results?

  • Were the initial goals too optimistic? Why (or why not)?

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Did Limited Vote achieve its goals?

(i) Lessening the power of parties?

  • Not really; on the contrary, it led to the development of the Birmingham caucus

    (ii) Protecting minorities?

  • Did not happen in Birmingham; in Leeds, it led to a “tyranny of minority” instead

  • Aren’t the two goals mutually exclusive?

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Where Have All the Criminals Gone?

  • Crime went up in the US for decades

  • Then it started to decline

  • Why?

     Not the strong economy

     Not the increased use of capital punishment:

    → “life on death row safer than on the streets”

    → not much effect, even if there is one (!?)

     Notinnovative policing

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Nottougher gun laws

  • Not the aging of the population

    Did have some effect:

  • Increased reliance on prisons

  • Increased number of police

  • Changes in crack and other drug markets

    However, this is not the whole story

    Also Roe vs. Wade: changes in abortion policies/legislation

    How does Levitt go about proving this claim?

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“X” → Democracy

  • (Economic) development

  • Predominant religion

  • Natural resources

  • Political culture

  • Mode of transition

  • Institutional design

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Note: “democracy”

  • Respondents asked to rate the importance of democracy for them, on a scale from 1 (very important) to 10 (not important at all).

  • Thus, the lower the score, the more important democracy is for the respondent

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Note: “Communism”

  • Respondents were asked their opinions about Communism (evaluate the regime). Available choices:

    (1)  Communism is a bad idea

    (2)  Communism was a good idea, but it was badly implemented (in Ro.)

    (3)  Communism is good, and it was implemented well (in Ro.)

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Wealth & Communism:

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Education → Democracy

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Soros Barometer, November 2007

  • Questions:

  • Death penalty support (% support - % oppose)

  • Better to have two parties or more (% agree - % wanting one party or no parties)

  • Communism: % who thinks Communism was a bad political system

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“Development” & democracy in Ro

  • Positive relation between wealth and education, on the one hand, and support for democracy, on the other

  • Wealth → democracy

  • Education → democracy

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Modernization theory

Economic development

Social development

Values (pro-democratic)


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Religion & democracy

  • Protestantism → democracy

  • Islam → authoritarianism

  • Orthodoxy?

    Natural resources:

  • The “resource curse”

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  • Ethnic diversity:

    Inimical to democracy (?)

  • Mode of transition:

    Violent vs. negotiated

  • Romania vs. Russia?

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Romania vs. Russia

  • Development

  • Ethnic divisions

  • Religion

  • Communist legacy

  • Political culture

  • Mode of transition