Welcome to the new version of CaltechAUTHORS. Login is currently restricted to library staff. If you notice any issues, please email coda@library.caltech.edu
Published August 15, 2017 | Submitted
Report Open

Political Confederation


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.

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.

Attached Files

Submitted - sswp990.pdf


Files (535.1 kB)
Name Size Download all
535.1 kB Preview Download

Additional details

August 19, 2023
January 14, 2024