Munich Personal RePEc Archive

One woman, one vote. Though not in the USA, UK and France

Colignatus, Thomas (2017): One woman, one vote. Though not in the USA, UK and France.

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Abstract

This paper gives an economic analysis of the design of electoral systems. It particular it evaluates how political science has been dealing with this issue. The main choice is between either district representation (DR) or equal or proportional representation (EPR). It appears that DR obliterates votes so that the principle of One Woman, One Vote and also article 21 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are violated. Holland in 1917 switched from DR to EPR but countries like the USA, UK and France still adopt DR. Brexit can be diagnosed as a result of the UK system of DR and the build-up of frustration on democracy within the UK itself. It appears that the advisory role of political scientists cannot be overlooked. Political science started in the humanities and only gradually adopted the methods of science, e.g. with the foundation of APSA in 1903. However, political science on the particular topic of electoral systems apparently still remains with its tradition in the humanities, in which assumptions are more important than analysis and hard data. Political science on electoral systems is no experimental science, since one cannot experiment with nations and their elections. The situation is similar as for macro-economics or astronomy that also are observational sciences, yet the latter fields have managed better in adopting the methods of science. A new development uses laboratory experiments, but these obviously cannot replace actual elections for the US House of Representatives or the UK House of Commons. This paper focuses on a deconstruction of a study by Carey & Hix (2011) (C&H) on an “electoral sweet spot”, that favours DR and that would mean the end of EPR. Other evidence on other studies is given in appendices. The deconstruction of the C&H study is sufficient evidence though, since it constitutes the culmination of a particular branch in political science. This branch appears to contain fundamental confusion and bias. Political science might regard this deconstruction as mere opinion but for science an empirical observation constitutes a fact. C&H also take ‘the most frequent of good outcomes’ as ‘thus the best overall’, which confuses frequency with optimality. This is more particular to their study though other political scientists are already copying this confusion instead of criticising it. Proper science should step in and assist political science to become a real science.

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