Where Minorities are the Majority: Electoral Rules and Ethnic Representation

John Gerring | Alan Hicken | Connor Jerzak | Robert Moser | Erzen Öncel

Paper .bib

Abstract: The impact of electoral rules on descriptive representation has generated a large body of work focused primarily on gender and secondarily on ethnicity. This study provides a parsimonious theory to explain these phenomena, centered on the size and dispersion of social groups. The theory is probed with simulations that test a complete set of counterfactuals, with a large dataset composed of mixed electoral system elections from around the world, and finally with case studies of individual elections in Russia and New Zealand. We find that multimember districts provide better representation than single-member districts only for geographically dispersed social groups that are large, but not too large, as a voting bloc (i.e., for women, understood as a group and a few ethnicities globally). Since most minority ethnic groups are concentrated in a particular region, district magnitude has little impact on their representation.


John Gerring, Connor T. Jerzak, Robert Moser, Erzen Öncel. Where Minorities are the Majority: Electoral Rules and Ethnic Representation. OSF Preprint, 2024.
  title={Where Minorities are the Majority: Electoral Rules and Ethnic Representation},
  author={Gerring, John and Connor T. Jerzak and Robert Moser and Erzen Öncel},
  journal={OSF Preprint},

Related Work

John Gerring, Alan Hicken, Connor T. Jerzak, Erzen Öncel. The Composition of Descriptive Representation. American Political Science Review, 118(2): 784-801, 2024.
  title={The Composition of Descriptive Representation},
  author={Gerring, John and Alan Hicken and Connor T. Jerzak and Erzen Öncel},
  journal={American Political Science Review},

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