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Addressing Europe’s Democratic Deficit: An Experimental Evaluation of the Pan-European District Proposal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Damien Bol, Philipp Harfst, André Blais, Sona Golder, Laslier Jean-François, Laura Stephenson, Karine Van der Straeten

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to) 525-545
Issue number5
Early online date14 Feb 2016
E-pub ahead of print14 Feb 2016
PublishedDec 2016


King's Authors


Many academics and commentators argue that Europe is suffering from a democratic deficit. An interesting proposal that has been put forward to address this problem is to elect some members of the European parliament in a pan-European district. In this article, we evaluate this proposal using an online experiment, in which thousands of Europeans voted on a pan-European ballot we created. We find that the voting behaviour of European citizens would be strongly affected by the presence or absence of candidates from their own country on the lists. If a pan-European district is created, our findings provide an argument in favour of using a closed-list ballot and establishing a maximum number of candidates from each country on the lists.

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