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Primaries: The Unifying Force

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  • Rafael Hortala-Vallve
  • Hannes Mueller

Abstract

We present a formal model of intra-party politics to explain candidate selection within parties. We think of parties as heterogeneous groups of individuals who aim to implement a set of policies but who differ in their priorities. When party heterogeneity is too large, parties are in danger of splitting into smaller yet more homogeneous groups. In this context we argue that primaries can have a unifying role if the party elite cannot commit to policy concessions. Our model shows how alignment in the preferred policies of various factions within a party, the relative weight of each of these factions and the electoral system interact to create incentives for the adoption of primary elections. We discuss the existing empirical literature in the light of our theoretical predictions to provide a new, structured perspective on the adoption of primary elections.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 496.

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Date of creation: Sep 2010
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Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:496

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  1. Martin J. Osborne & Al Slivinksi, 1995. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," Department of Economics Working Papers 1995-01, McMaster University.
  2. B.S.Y. Crutzen & Micael Castanheira De Moura & Nicolas Sahuguet, 2010. "Party organization and electoral competition," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/136805, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  3. Tim Besley & Ian Preston, 2007. "Electoral bias and policy choice: theory and evidence," IFS Working Papers W07/06, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  4. Fernando Aragon, 2009. "Candidate nomination procedures andpolitical selection: evidence from LatinAmerican parties," STICERD - Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers Series 003, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  5. Coate, Stephen & Knight, Brian, 2007. "Socially Optimal Districting: A Theoretical and Empirical Exploration," Working Papers 07-06, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Folke, Olle & Persson, Torsten & Rickne, Johanna, 2014. "Preferential Voting, Accountability and Promotions into Political Power: Evidence from Sweden," Working Paper Series 1002, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  2. P. Amorós & Ricardo Martínez & M. Socorro Puy, 2013. "The closed primaries versus the top-two primary," Economics Working Papers we1319, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.

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