Proportional representation with citizen candidates

Alan Hamlin, Michael Hjortlund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We construct a simple model incorporating both citizen-candidates and proportional representation and investigate its properties in a basic case with a uniform distribution of citizen ideal points and pure policy motivations, and in further cases which allow of office rents and other distributions of preferences. The idea of citizen-candidates, developed by Osborne and Slivinski (1996), Besley and Coate (1997), endogenises the decision to stand as a candidate and allows explicit study of the number and type of candidates as an equilibrium phenomenon. The idea of proportional representation allows a more flexible relationship between the pattern of votes cast and the final policy outcome, and also provides a richer model of political representation. Our discussion points to the widespread possibility of equilibria involving non-median policy outcomes; provides insights into the relationship between proportional representation and the equilibrium number of candidates; and also provides an explicit account of the trade-off between candidate benefits distributed on a winner-take-all basis and those that are mediated through proportional representation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-230
Number of pages25
JournalPublic Choice
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2000


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