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Audrey André, Sam Depauw, and Kris Deschouwer, "Legislators' local roots: Disentangling the effect of district magnitude," Party Politics, 20 (November, 2014), 904-917. [Available at ]

First paragraph:
The way in which legislators are elected is an important feature of democratic political systems. The conditions that legislators compete under for re-election delimit the shape of political representation (Mayhew, 1974). At the macro level the degree of proportionality shapes the party system and thereby party government. A long tradition of research has built and commented on Duverger's law and hypothesis, concentrating on the mechanical and psychological effects of majoritarian, as opposed to proportional, electoral systems (for a recent review, see Benoit, 2006). At the micro level the electoral rules determine the relative value of a legislator's personal reputation, as opposed to the party record, and thereby shape the incentive he or she has to keep in touch with constituents (Cain et al., 1987; Carey and Shugart, 1995).

Figre 1. District magnitude and the incentive to cultivate a personal vote
Table 1. District magnitude and previous local office-holding by country and list type.
Table 2. The effect of district magnitude on previous local office-holding.
Table 3. The ratio C: M and C: P, by country and list type.
Table 4. The effect the ratio C: P on previous local office-holding
Table 5. The thresholds of inter-party and intra-party competition, by country and list type.
Table 6. The thresholds of inter-party and intra-party competition and previous local office-holding.

Last Paragraph:
(First paragraph of Conclusion) Electoral systems matter. The conditions legislators compete under for re-election shape the nature of political representation. It is generally assumed that district magnitude is a crucial variable in this respect. Dependent on the ballot structure - open or closed lists - district magnitude shapes the incentive that legislators have to cultivate a personal reputation, or the party record, when presenting themselves to voters. But research has been more casual about the precise 'theoretical mechanism' linking legislators' incentives to district magnitude. In this article we have tried to look a bit deeper into the exact meaning of the district magnitude.

Last updated November 2014