Past research analysing the positive effects of proportional systems on electoral participation has focused on dimensions such as quality of representation, mobilisation, competitiveness, and efficacy. However, the potential consequences of higher complexity and difficulties for accountability on proportional systems are not well known. We show that proportional features capturing complexity and dispersion of power can increase the participatory gap between citizens with high and low education and interest in politics, usually by depressing turnout among the less educated and interested. The implications of adopting proportional rules that result in complex and divided forms of government in an era of increasingly disengaged citizens are discussed.
- Division of powers
- Political interest