DP16057 The Best at the Top? Candidate Ranking Strategies under Closed List Proportional Representation

Author(s): Benoît SY Crutzen, Konishi Hideo, Nicolas Sahuguet
Publication Date: April 2021
Keyword(s): closed list, incentives, Proportional representation, team contest
Programme Areas: Public Economics, Organizational Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=16057

Under closed-list proportional representation, a party's electoral list determines the order in which legislative seats are allocated to candidates. When candidates differ in their ability, parties face a trade-off between competence and incentives. Ranking candidates in decreasing order of competence ensures that elected politicians are most competent. Yet, party list create incentives for candidates that may push parties not to rank candidates in decreasing competence order. We examine this trade-off in a game-theoretical model in which parties rank their candidate on a list, candidates choose their campaign effort, and the election is a team contest for multiple prizes. We show that the trade-off between competence and incentives depends on candidates' objective and the electoral environment. In particular, parties rank candidates in decreasing order of competence if candidates value enough post-electoral high offices or media coverage focuses on candidates at the top of the list.