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Responsiveness and Democratic Accountability: Observational Evidence from an Experiment in a Mixed-Member Proportional System

Abstract : Electoral systems provide distinctive accountability mechanisms in democratic polities and thereby affect government responsiveness to citizens. In this article, we concentrate on the effects of proportional vis-à-vis majoritarian electoral rules. We expect members of parliament to be more responsive under majoritarian rule, because these MPs have a direct mandate from their local constituency, are less dependent on their party, and can be held directly accountable by voters. We exploit Germany's mixed-member system and test MP’s responsiveness using behavioral data generated within a two-round field experiment. The experiment observes concrete interactions between voters and representatives. In the experiment, real voters sent emails about a policy issue to their MPs. We show that MPs who were elected via the majoritarian tier are almost twice as likely to respond to a voter request than MPs elected via PR. Our results deliver novel evidence that electoral institutions cause distinct behavioral responses from elected officials.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03380869
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Submitted on : Friday, October 15, 2021 - 8:49:54 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, September 27, 2022 - 1:26:31 PM

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Christian Breunig, Emiliano Grossman, Miriam Hänni. Responsiveness and Democratic Accountability: Observational Evidence from an Experiment in a Mixed-Member Proportional System. Legislative Studies Quarterly, 2020, pp.Online. ⟨10.1111/lsq.12326⟩. ⟨hal-03380869⟩

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