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Political Confederation

Crémer, Jacques and Palfrey, Thomas R. (1997) Political Confederation. Social Science Working Paper, 990. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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Using a spatial model, we compare different rules for aggregating preferences across confederated districts, under the assumption that voters have private information and face uncertainty about the distribution of preferences of other voters. Our model includes, as special cases, systems of local representation in national assemblies and parliaments and international legislatures with representatives from member states. We show how induced preferences over the degree of centralization and the method of representation (proportional vs. equal representation of districts) vary systematically across voters and districts, depending on such factors as relative size of the districts, the number of districts, and the variance of underlying policy preferences. We show that each voter has an ideal confederation in which representation consists solely of equal representation. These ideal confederations vary across voters, but are independent district size. Moderate voters prefer a higher degree of centralization than extreme voters. Preference for centralization is increasing in the number of districts and decreasing in the variance of voter ideal points. With two districts, majority rule equilibria always exists and can have some degree of proportional representation. With three or more districts, majority rule equilibrium often fails to exist. Nonexistence arises due to cycling in the two dimensional-Centralization x Representation-space of confederations.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
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URLURL TypeDescription ItemPublished Version
Palfrey, Thomas R.0000-0003-0769-8109
Additional Information:This research was supported in part by the National Science Foundation through grants SES-9224787 and SBR-9631627. The work was begun while the second author was visiting IDEI in 1995. Financial support from IDEI, as well as its stimulating research environment, is gratefully acknowledged. That author also thanks CREST-LEI and CERAS for their hospitality and research support during the 1995-96 academic year. We are grateful for comments from seminar participants at London School of Economics, University of Toulouse, the 1996 Gerzensee Worshop on Political Economy, the 1997 SITE summer program on Interregional Competition in Public Economics, and the 1997 annual meeting of the Public Choice Society. Published as Cremer, J., & Palfrey, T.R. (1999). Political confederation. American Political Science Review, 93(1), 69-83.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Université de ToulouseUNSPECIFIED
Centre de Recherche en Economie et STatistique (CREST)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:voting, federalism, constitution
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:990
Classification Code:JEL: D72, D78, H11
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170815-144929970
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:80431
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:15 Aug 2017 22:05
Last Modified:22 Nov 2019 09:58

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