The experience of countries with Pro Rep shows we can have a vibrant economy, a more equal society, and sound environmental policies if we say “Yes” to Pro Rep.
Read an opinion piece about this in The Province from Sierra Club BC’s Communications Director Tim Pearson.
Tim’s piece is based on academic research collated in this Fair Vote Canada blog.
The evidence presented by Fair Vote Canada demonstrates that Pro Rep countries tend to have better environmental policies, higher voter turnout, better representation of women and minorities, reduced income inequality, happier people, better economic management, and stronger democracies.
Evidence that Pro Rep leads to better environmental outcomes is drawn from several studies including a landmark 2012 study by Arend Lijphart, who compared 36 democracies over 55 years. This excerpt from Fair Vote Canada summarizes the research:
Frederiksson and Millimet (2004) found that countries with proportional systems set stricter environmental policies. Cohen (2010) found that countries with proportional systems were faster to ratify the Kyoto protocol, and that their share of world total carbon emissions had declined.
Both Lijphart (2012) and Orellana (2014) found that countries with proportional systems scored six points higher on the Yale Environmental Performance Index, which measures ten policy areas, including environmental health, air quality, resource management, biodiversity and habitat, forestry, fisheries, agriculture and climate change.
Using data from the International Energy Agency, Orellana found that between 1990 and 2007, when carbon emissions were rising everywhere, the statistically predicted increase was significantly lower in countries with fully proportional systems, at 9.5%, compared to 45.5% in countries using winner-take-all systems.
Orellana also found that citizens in countries with proportional representation were more supportive of environmental action, and more willing to pay the costs associated with environmental protection. He found the use of renewable energy to be approximately 117 percent higher in countries with fully proportional electoral systems.
In sum, countries with proportional systems tend to act more quickly and do more to protect the environment.
Cohen, Darcie (2010). Do Political Preconditions Affect Environmental Outcomes? Exploring the Linkages Between Proportional Representation, Green parties and the Kyoto Protocol. Simon Fraser University.
Fredriksson, P. G. and Millimet, D. L. (2004). “Electoral rules and environmental policy.” Economics Letters, 84-2: 237–44.
Lijphart, Arend (2012). Patterns of Democracy. Government Forms and Performance in 36 Countries. New Haven, CT: Yale Press. Fair Vote Canada has produced a summary of the 1999 edition.
Orellana, Saloman (2014). Electoral Systems and Governance: How Diversity Can Improve Policy Making. New York: Routledge Press. Click here for a summary produced by FVC.