Political scientists recognize that different types of democracies produce different policy outcomes. Relative to majoritarian polities, proportional systems provide more support for programs with broad-based benefits. We examine whether this holds true for critical goods. We provide a model showing why market forces may not ensure access to critical goods. Individuals “under-consume” when times are good. Their myopia leads to a shortage of the critical good when times are bad. Thus, protection of critical goods is the optimal policy. Empirically, we find that proportional countries are associated with more support for critical products, and the opposite for non-critical products.
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