Electoral Systems and Income Inequality: a Tale of Political Equality

Izaskun Zuazu (University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU)

Abstract: Do electoral institutions have an effect on income inequality? Does political inequal ity play a role in the potential aftermath of electoral rules on income inequality? This paper provides a Downsian model of political competition in which electoral systems represent differently the individuals’ preferences of income inequality. Empirically, I employ a panel data of 118 democracies during 1960-2015, and find that proportional systems might improve income inequality through its interaction with political equality. Unpacking this mechanism and understanding how it works is of crucial importance to the design of pro-equality electoral systems, and democratic institutions at large.

Download the paper