Monika Nalepa, Department of Political Science

In countries throughout the world, electoral systems are based on what is known as proportional representation. Voters cast their votes for their preferred party or candidate, and legislative seats are apportioned according to the number each party/candidate receives. There are different methods of organizing electoral competition in these systems. In closed-list proportional representation (CLPR) systems, voters vote for parties, with the party leadership allocating seats according to its candidate ranking. In open-list proportional representation (OLPR), voters vote for individual candidates. A literature that is nearly three decades old has argued that because of its features, CLPR systems will be more partisan and more focused on national policy since candidates are beholden to a centralized party leadership. OLPR systems will be more candidate-centered, and politicians will place local, parochial interests before the national interest.

The goal of this project is to reconsider this received wisdom and question whether the grip of parties over candidates in CLPR systems is as strong as the conventional wisdom discussed above suggests. Professor Monika Nalepa together with CISSR visitor, Jose Antonio Cheibub will organize a workshop at CISSR to explore whether the contrast between CLPR and OLPR has been overestimated in both the electoral and legislative arenas. The invited papers from a team of international political scientists will investigate why parties may play a relevant role in affecting candidate behavior in OLPR, both during the campaign and in the legislature.