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Party-bosses vs. party-primaries: Quality of legislature under different selectorates

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  • Evrenk, Haldun
  • Lambie-Hanson, Timothy
  • Xu, Yourong

Abstract

We compare the legislature quality under an exclusive, centralized selectorate (such as a party-principal) with that under an inclusive, decentralized selectorate (such as a party-primary). In our model, two parties compete over three districts: two are home districts of each party while the third is a battleground district characterized by weaker and uncertain policy preferences. We find that when home districts are “safe,” and the parties' candidate pools are of comparable quality, an equilibrium legislature under party-primaries is always of higher quality than an equilibrium legislature under party-principals. When we extend the model to include a general number of districts with candidates of only high or low quality, we show that, as long as there are not too few nor too many highest-quality candidates, party-primaries still perform better than party-principals.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 29 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 168-182

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Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:29:y:2013:i:c:p:168-182

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505544

Related research

Keywords: Candidate selection method; Party primary; Selectorate; Candidate quality; Quality of legislature;

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References

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  1. Helios Herrera & David K Levine & Cesar Martinelli, 2007. "Policy Platforms, Campaign Spending and Voter Participation," Levine's Working Paper Archive 618897000000000935, David K. Levine.
  2. Hirano, Shigeo & Snyder, James M. & Ansolabehere, Stephen & Hansen, John Mark, 2010. "Primary Elections and Partisan Polarization in the U.S. Congress," International Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 5(2), pages 169-191, August.
  3. James M. Snyder, 1994. "Safe Seats, Marginal Seats, And Party Platforms: The Logic Of Platform Differentiation," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(3), pages 201-213, November.
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  7. Gilles Serra, 2011. "Why primaries? The party's tradeoff between policy and valence," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 23(1), pages 21-51, January.
  8. Snyder, James M, 1989. "Election Goals and the Allocation of Campaign Resources," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(3), pages 637-60, May.
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  10. Alexei Zakharov, 2009. "A model of candidate location with endogenous valence," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 138(3), pages 347-366, March.
  11. Gerber, Elisabeth R & Morton, Rebecca B, 1998. "Primary Election Systems and Representation," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(2), pages 304-24, October.
  12. Kittsteiner, Thomas & Eyster, Erik, 2007. "Party platforms in electoral competition with heterogeneous constituencies," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 2(1), pages 41-70, March.
  13. Steven Callander, 2005. "Electoral Competition in Heterogeneous Districts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(5), pages 1116-1145, October.
  14. Wittman, Donald, 2007. "Candidate quality, pressure group endorsements and the nature of political advertising," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 360-378, June.
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