Selecting Indexes of Electoral Proportionality: General Properties and Relationships

Selecting Indexes of Electoral Proportionality: General Properties and Relationships Measuring the proportionality of outcomes in termsof each party's vote and seatshares is an important task in electoral analysis.Various indexes have been designedthat provide a summary statistic of electoralproportionality/disproportionality. Claimsand counter-claims have been made regarding thestrengths and weaknesses of particularindexes. Important consequences follow from thismethodological pluralism. First, it isnot always clear which index has been employedwhen particular electoral outcomesare discussed. Second, recent additions to thelist of indexes have not been thoroughlyscrutinised and appraised. Third, the lack ofknowledge about the general relationshipbetween indexes means that observations might bedifferent had a different index beenused. This article seeks to identify and clarifythe particular properties of different indexesof proportionality. Relatively new, and largelyuntested, indexes of proportionality areexamined and some unusual and potentially damagingproperties are identified. We alsocompare different measures of disproportionality inan effort to specify some generalproperties of the inter-relationships between them.Understanding the particular patternsof electoral competition and vote distributionsthat affect the relationship between thesemeasures should enable users to anticipate theconsequences of preferring one index overothers. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Quality & Quantity Springer Journals

Selecting Indexes of Electoral Proportionality: General Properties and Relationships

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Publisher
Kluwer Academic Publishers
Copyright
Copyright © 2004 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
Subject
Social Sciences; Methodology of the Social Sciences; Social Sciences, general
ISSN
0033-5177
eISSN
1573-7845
D.O.I.
10.1023/B:QUQU.0000013239.55304.98
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Measuring the proportionality of outcomes in termsof each party's vote and seatshares is an important task in electoral analysis.Various indexes have been designedthat provide a summary statistic of electoralproportionality/disproportionality. Claimsand counter-claims have been made regarding thestrengths and weaknesses of particularindexes. Important consequences follow from thismethodological pluralism. First, it isnot always clear which index has been employedwhen particular electoral outcomesare discussed. Second, recent additions to thelist of indexes have not been thoroughlyscrutinised and appraised. Third, the lack ofknowledge about the general relationshipbetween indexes means that observations might bedifferent had a different index beenused. This article seeks to identify and clarifythe particular properties of different indexesof proportionality. Relatively new, and largelyuntested, indexes of proportionality areexamined and some unusual and potentially damagingproperties are identified. We alsocompare different measures of disproportionality inan effort to specify some generalproperties of the inter-relationships between them.Understanding the particular patternsof electoral competition and vote distributionsthat affect the relationship between thesemeasures should enable users to anticipate theconsequences of preferring one index overothers.

Journal

Quality & QuantitySpringer Journals

Published: Oct 18, 2004

References

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