In a letter Nov 16, the writer describes a study by the Fraser Institute which showed lower average government spending as a percent of GDP in countries with first past the post systems compared with countries with proportional representation . The specific study was not referenced, making review by others difficult, if not impossible. Furthermore, government spending as a single indicator does not provide a complete picture of overall government effectiveness.
Arend Lijphart’s extensive research “Patterns of Democracy” (Yale University Press 2012) examined 36 countries between 1945 and 2010 and showed the following – compared to FPTP (or majoritarian), PR democracies (or consensus democracy) had no overall impact on economic growth or economic freedom and it lowered inflation significantly. “In the majority of measures PR democracies have a better record on sound government and decision making,” Lijphart concluded.
Consensus democracies were also associated with less violence; they scored significantly better on rule of law, control of corruption, and independence of the civil service from political pressure. They had more women as elected representatives; and they had significantly better records than FPTP governments on environmental performance.
This last indicator speaks most strongly to me; with the recent United Nations IPCC report giving the world’s governments approximately one decade to get carbon emissions under control or face disastrous consequences, I wish to see a more collaborative, representational government at work to help navigate us forward.