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The Implications of Electoral Reform for Political Inequality in the Long-Term

Sat, September 2, 2:00 to 3:30pm, Hilton Union Square, Golden Gate 3


This paper examines the implications of electoral reform for the long-term representation of workers and low-income citizens, through a careful examination of the electoral geographies of Norway and Sweden. Drawing on original data-sets that describe the electoral geography of income, the analysis presented in this paper traces changes in the electoral power of low-income and working-class citizens over time. Specifically, this analysis begins with an examination of electoral power under the original, SMD boundaries in the early years of the twentieth century, and examines how the adoption of MMD electoral rules in each country ensured low-income citizens a level of electoral power that likely would have declined without electoral reform. This paper, therefore, demonstrates how, even in the absence of partisan coalition incentives, MMD electoral rules can generate more equitable political representation for low-income citizens.