ScienceDaily (May 28, 2011) — "One person, one vote" is often the rallying cry for democratic reform, suggesting everyone should get an equal say in their government.
Yet in some of the oldest and largest democracies, some votes are worth far more than others by design. A Wyoming voter, for instance, is significantly over-represented compared with a California voter. Each state has two U.S. senators, but California has 66 times more people.
How much does it matter? According to a recent study of decades of data, from the U.S. and eight other countries, it matters a lot when it comes to money.
"Other things being equal, the most over-represented states or provinces can expect to receive more than twice the federal funding per capita as the most under-represented states or provinces," according to Tiberiu Dragu, co-author of the study with Jonathan Rodden. In some examples from South America, they found a funding difference of five to one.
Dragu is a professor of political science at the University of Illinois; Rodden is a professor of political science at Stanford University. Their study, "Representation and Redistribution in Federations," one of the few to examine the issue over multiple countries, was published online this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of SciencesT. Dragu, J. Rodden. Representation and redistribution in federations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2011