Comparative Structural Reform

Structural Reform Assessment Project

FairVote’s Comparative Structural Reform project took place in 2015 and is reported on in our final report page. It entailed an extensive survey of 14 prominent political scientists about the likely impact of 37 electoral reforms. The participants in this project were leading authorities on electoral reform and legislative functionality, with extensive collective expertise and mastery of both quantitative and qualitative approaches to the study of American legislatures, elections and electoral rules. Participants included: 

 Each of the 14 participants was asked to assess each reform’s impact on 16 different criteria fitting within four topline categories: 

  1. Legislative functionality
  2. Electoral accountability
  3. Voter engagement
  4. Openness of process

The participants were provided with background documents and annotated bibliographies to inform their opinions and completed eleven surveys, grouped by reform category. A sample survey instrument is provided for reference. Participants rated the likely impact of each reform on a scale of 1 - 5, with a score of one indicating no impact (or a negative impact), a score of three indicating a moderate impact, and a score of 5 indicating that the reform would, on its own, have a profound, “game-changing” impact on the criterion in question. In conjunction with impact ratings, participants were also asked to rate the certainty of their rating for each reform on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 indicated low certainty and 5 indicated high certainty. Participants were also asked to provide additional comments about the potential impact of each reform on each criterion. 

Participants were compensated for their participation. All participants responded to all eleven surveys and provided a wealth of insightful comments, new sources, and useful information in addition to their well-considered ratings of each reform.

The responses of the participants were then aggregated and analyzed. Results are presented in our Comparative Structural Reform Report


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