Electoral Rules, Labor Market Coordination and Macroeconomic Performance

By Carl Henrik Knutsen, Magnus Bergli Rasmussen


Published in Scandinavian Political Studies, online 27 August 2018



Two distinct literatures have studied the macroeconomic effects of electoral systems and of labor market structures, respectively. Results include a positive association between proportional representation (PR) electoral systems and growth, but also between PR and inflation, as well as negative or hump‐shaped relationships between labor market coordination and the ‘misery variables’, unemployment and inflation. However, these results could be biased; particular electoral system and labor market features co‐vary systematically, and extant studies have typically not taken this into account. Effects attributed to PR systems could really stem from labor market coordination, and vice versa. In this article the relationships with macroeconomic outcomes for both electoral systems and labor market structures are re‐evaluated by modelling them jointly. Employing data from more than 30 democracies, with time‐series from the period 1960–2010, some robust and some non‐robust associations are identified. First, PR systems are, indeed, associated with higher growth rates, but not with higher inflation. Regarding labor market coordination, robust curvilinear relationships with unemployment and inflation are identified; intermediate levels of coordination correspond with worse macroeconomic performance – albeit not lower growth – even when accounting for electoral system features.


Full text for subscribers at  Wiley Online Library                       

Published Aug. 30, 2018 3:59 PM - Last modified Aug. 30, 2018 3:59 PM