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Den godtyckliga demokratin: En studie av olika metoder att tillgodose kravet på proportionell rättvisa
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.
1999 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis focuses the electoral systems, one of the most important instruments in theconstitutional toolbox of democratic institutions. Theories of collective decisionmaking offer several ways to reach collective decisions and there are various ways of distributing seats in parliament. These alternative decision methods and electoral systems are equally democratic. Theories on collective decisions emphasise the arbitrary nature of decision methods, which means that democratic decision methods all fall short of clearly naming a winning alternative. When these decision methods are transferred to electoral systems it can be shown that election results, and the allocation of parliamentary seats, are equally arbitrary. Different electoral systems will distribute parliamentary seats differently, although preferences among the electorate remain the same.

This finding is the basis to Riker's dismissal of the populist conception of democracy- originating from the work of Rousseau - which regards democracy as a method to determine the General Will and thereby a means for self-government. Arbitrary decision methods are, to Riker, a deathblow to the foundational notion that democracy realises the popular will. This study focuses the empirical aspect. What is the relevance of arbitrary decision methods for Swedish politics?

Our analysis will rewrite modern Swedish political history. We will allow voters to return to the ballot boxes 1982, 1985, 1988, and 1991, each time counting the votes according to different electoral systems. This will be done, practically, by conducting several analyses of the material in opinion surveys. We will discuss four electoral systems, all generated from the theoretical discourse: proportional plurality method, approval method, borda method, and the standardised utility method The main result of the thesis is that election results differ with alternative electoral systems, also when voter preferences are held constant. Differences in distribution of parliamentary seats have effects on several central aspects of parliamentary politics.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 1999. , 216 p.
Skrifter utgivna av Statsvetenskapliga föreningen i Uppsala, ISSN 0346-7538 ; 135
Keyword [en]
Political science, Social choice, proportional representation, electoral systems, plurality rule, approval voting, borda count
Keyword [sv]
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
Research subject
Political Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-366ISBN: 91-554-4544-6OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-366DiVA: diva2:163494
Public defence
1999-10-29, Brusewitzsalen, Gamla torget 6, Uppsala, Uppsala, 10:15 (English)
Available from: 1999-10-08 Created: 1999-10-08 Last updated: 2010-01-13Bibliographically approved

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