Behind the cube rule: implications of and evidence against a fractal electoral geography
Pickering, Andrew C.
University of Exeter; University of Bristol (Pickering)
Environment and Planning A
In 1909 Parker Smith showed that the ratio of seats won by the two major parties in Britain was close to the cube of the ratio of their votes. Taagepera and Shugart argue, wrongly, that a fractal electoral map implies this. In fact their premises imply that the seats’ ratio will be the votes’ ratio to the power of , not 3. However, in the six countries we examine, the figure is between 2 and 3. This implies that the electoral map is nonfractal, political allegiances becoming less ‘clustered’ as you move from a macro to a micro scale. Taking the U.K., we ask if this is due to the geographical pattern of income distribution, and find that this is even further away from fractality than is voting. This fits the well known ‘neighborhood effect’ whereby poor (rich) people in rich (poor) constituencies vote as if richer (poorer) than they really are.
An earlier version of this paper was issued as Discussion Papers in Economics, 01/03. The definitive, peer-reviewed and edited version of this article is published in Environment and Planning A, August 2003 35(8) p. 1405-1414
Environment and Planning A, August 2003 35(8) p. 1405-1414