chapter  5
Territorial Elections and Redistribution
Pages 32

Introduction Constituencies are central to democratic representation. Responsive politicians target their ideological appeals and public policies to their voting public (Downs 1957). Importantly, political institutions determine the universe of politicians’ constituencies, influencing how voters view their interests, organize, and hold politicians accountable for high quality representation (Carey 2007). Geographic electoral constituencies are the norm in democratic polities (Rehfeld 2005). However, nations differ substantially in whether their electoral constituencies are strongly territorial due not only to whether districts are drawn based on geography but also due to incentives for nationalizing politics encouraged by institutions such as PR, the size of districts, parliamentarism, and unitarism (Caramani 2004; Gerring et al. 2005). From the perspective of the politics of economic inequality, territorial electoral constituencies strongly engage the mechanisms of focus in this analysis. By making targeted local goods visible to constituents interested in local outcomes, territorial constituencies lead decision-makers to oversupply local goods and undersupply national goods, including centralized redistributive outlays (Milesi-Ferretti et al. 2002; Lee and Rogers 2015). By segmenting the playing field, territorial constituencies and district-centered voting rules, through their effect on the organization of political parties, divide the national coalition in favor of redistributive policies and highlight distinct preferences related to regional interests. Accordingly, territorial representation also increases heterogeneity within parties and party systems, as coalitions must manage policy concerns due to the interpersonal and interregional dynamics of inequality. Electoral rules have the potential to influence redistributive outcomes through two different pathways: the nature of constituency (territorial or not) and the incentives voting rules provide to politicians and voters. Electoral rules, such as whether voters cast votes for parties or individuals, have strong effects on party cohesion and constituency orientation. Ultimately, these factors may influence

the nature (targeted to national groups or geographic districts) and generosity of government allocation. In this chapter, I first define electoral constituencies and voting rules. These are separate, but interacting, features of election structure that influence party behavior and politicians’ reelection incentives. Next, I discuss the theoretical links between constituency structure and redistribution, and between voting rules and redistribution. I address preference heterogeneity within parties that comes from different regional economic endowments. Finally, I apply these theoretical insights to the contrasting cases of Argentina, Germany and the USA.