Gallagher Index: Wikis

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The Gallagher Index (or least squares index) is used to measure the disproportionality of an electoral outcome, that is the difference between the percentage of votes received and the percentage of seats a party gets in the resulting legislature. This is especially useful for comparing proportionality across electoral systems. The index involves taking the square root of half the sum of the squares of the difference between percent of vote and percent of seats (as whole numbers) for each of the political parties.

LSq = \sqrt{ \frac{1}{2} \sum_{i=1}^n ( V_i-S_i ) ^2}

The index weighs the deviations by their own value, creating a responsive index, ranging from 0 to 100. The lower the index value the lower the disproportionality and vice versa. Michael Gallagher, who created the index, included 'other' parties as a whole category, and Arend Lijphart modified it, excluding those parties. Unlike the well-known Loosemore-Hanby index, the Gallagher index is less sensitive to small discrepancies.

Contents

Example of calculating disproportionality

This table uses the New Zealand 2005 election result. Note: New Zealand voters have two votes. This list uses the party vote, which determines the proportionality of the House; the electorate vote determines the local member.

party  % of votes  % of seats difference difference
squared
Labour 41.10 41.32 0.22 0.0484
National 39.10 39.67 0.57 0.3249
NZ First 5.72 5.79 0.07 0.0049
Greens 5.30 4.96 0.34 0.1156
Māori 2.12 3.30 1.18 1.3924
United Future 2.67 2.48 0.19 0.0361
ACT 1.51 1.65 0.14 0.0196
Progressives 1.16 0.82 0.34 0.1156
Destiny 0.62 0 0.62 0.3844
Legalise Cannabis 0.25 0 0.25 0.0625
Christian Heritage 0.12 0 0.12 0.0144
Alliance 0.07 0 0.07 0.0049
Family Rights 0.05 0 0.05 0.0025
Democrats 0.05 0 0.05 0.0025
Libertarianz 0.04 0 0.04 0.0016
Direct Democracy 0.03 0 0.04 0.0016
99MP 0.03 0 0.03 0.0009
OneNZ 0.02 0 0.02 0.0004
Republicans 0.02 0 0.02 0.0004
total of squares of differences 2.4711
total / 2 1.23555
square root of (total / 2) 1.11

Thus the disproportionality of the 2005 New Zealand election is 1.11, which is a very good result by international standards.

Other indices

The Sainte-Laguë Index is considered by Gallagher to be probably the soundest of all the measures. This is closely related to the Pearson's chi-square test which has better statistical underpinning.

\mathrm{SLI} = \sum {(S-V)^2 \over V}

See also

The Gallagher Index of the results of the Australian 2007 federal election: Image:Aus07Gallagher.PNG

A Gallagher Index listing for 900 elections from 100 countries [1]

References

  • Benoit, K. 2000. 'Which Electoral Formula Is the Most Proportional? A New Look with New Evidence.' Political Analysis 8:381-388.
  • Gallagher, M. 1991. Proportionality, Disproportionality and Electoral Systems. Electoral Studies 10:33-51.
  • Gallagher, M. 1992. 'Comparing Proportional Representation Electoral Systems: Quotas, Thresholds, Paradoxes and Majorities.' British Journal of Political Science 22:469-496.
  • Gallagher, M and Mitchell P. (eds). 2005. The Politics of Electoral Systems Oxford: Oxford University Press. Appendix B. ISBN 0-19-925756-6

External links

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