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Congress composition and electoral advantage


Vargas Duque, Juan Fernando

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Universidad del Rosario


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In 2003, an electoral reform changed the mechanism to assign seats in the Colombian Congress. I simulate the 2006 Senate elections using the previous assignment mechanism to determine which senators benefited from the reform, i.e. would have not been elected had the reform not been made. With the results of the simulation, I use a regression discontinuity design to compare the senators that would have been barely elected anyways with those who would have lost, but were near to be elected. I check the differences in the amount of law drafts presented, the attendance to voting sessions, and a discipline index for each senator as proxy of their legislative behavior. I find that the senators benefiting from the reform present a different legislative behavior during the 4-year term with respect to the senators that would have been elected anyways. Since the differential legislative behavior cannot be interpreted as being better (worse) politician, I examine if the behavioral difference gives them an electoral advantage. I find no difference in the electoral result of 2010 Senate election in terms of the probability of being (re)elected in 2010, the share of votes, the share of votes within their party list, and the concentration of their votes. Additionally, I check the probability of being investigated for links with paramilitary groups and I find no differences. The results suggest that political reforms can change the composition of governing or legislative bodies in terms of performance, but it does not necessarily translate into an electoral advantage.
Palabras clave
Colombia , Senado , Senadores , Reforma política , Cuota de Hare , Regresión discontinua , Comportamiento legislativo
Colombia , Senate , Senators , Political reform , Hare quota , Legislative behavior , Regression discontinuity
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