Apportionment with Parity Constraints

by   Claire Mathieu, et al.

In the classic apportionment problem the goal is to decide how many seats of a parliament should be allocated to each party as a result of an election. The divisor methods provide a way of solving this problem by defining a notion of proportionality guided by some rounding rule. Motivated by recent challenges in the context of electoral apportionment, we consider the question of how to allocate the seats of a parliament under parity constraints between candidate types (e.g. equal number of men and women elected) while at the same time satisfying party proportionality. We consider two different approaches for this problem. The first mechanism, that follows a greedy approach, corresponds to a recent mechanism used in the Chilean Constitutional Convention 2021 election. We analyze this mechanism from a theoretical point of view. The second mechanism follows the idea of biproportionality introduced by Balinski and Demange [Math. Program. 1989, Math. Oper. Res. 1989]. In contrast with the classic biproportional method by Balinski and Demange, this mechanism is ruled by two levels of proportionality: Proportionality is satisfied at the level of parties by means of a divisor method, and then biproportionality is used to decide the number of candidates allocated to each type and party. We provide a theoretical analysis of this mechanism, making progress on the theoretical understanding of methods with two levels of proportionality. A typical benchmark used in the context of two-dimensional apportionment is the fair share (a.k.a matrix scaling), which corresponds to an ideal fractional biproportional solution. We provide lower bounds on the distance between these two types of solutions, and we explore their consequences in the context of two-dimensional apportionment.


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