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Party Formation and Racism

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  • Anesi, Vincent
  • De Donder, Philippe

Abstract

We develop a model where voters differ in their exogenous income and in their ideological views regarding what we call 'racism'. Electoral competition, modelled à la Levy (2004), takes place between (one or several) parties which propose platforms consisting of both an ideological and an economic dimension. Our objective is to explain the emergence of racist policies when a majority of voters is not racist, and to understand the role played by political parties in this emergence. We first show that, in a pure citizen-candidate model where parties are absent, the only equilibrium consists of the non-racist policy. We then show that allowing for the formation of political parties generates equilibria with racist policies. Finally, our main result states that, if the economic issue is sufficiently salient compared to the ideological one, all equilibria consist of a racist policy, and that the lowest degree of racism of these policies increases with the proportion of poor people in the economy.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6281.

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Date of creation: May 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6281

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Keywords: electoral competition; polarization; political parties; salience;

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References

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  1. John Roemer & Karine Van-Der-Straeten, 2004. "Xenophobia and distribution in France : A politico-economic analysis," Working Papers hal-00242934, HAL.
  2. Edward L. Glaeser, 2005. "The Political Economy of Hatred," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(1), pages 45-86, January.
  3. John Roemer & Karine Van-Der-Straeten, 2004. "The political economy of xenophobia and distribution : the case of Denmark," Working Papers hal-00242915, HAL.
  4. Lee, Woojin & Roemer, John E., 2006. "Racism and redistribution in the United States: A solution to the problem of American exceptionalism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(6-7), pages 1027-1052, August.
  5. Raquel Fernández & Gilat Levy, 2005. "Diversity and Redistribution," NBER Working Papers 11570, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Joan-Maria Esteban & Debraj Ray, 1991. "On the Measurement of Polarization," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 18, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  7. Austen-Smith, David & Wallerstein, Michael, 2006. "Redistribution and affirmative action," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(10-11), pages 1789-1823, November.
  8. Morelli, Massimo, 1998. "Party Formation and Policy Outcomes Under Different Electoral Systems," Staff General Research Papers 1242, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  9. Osborne, Martin J & Slivinski, Al, 1996. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(1), pages 65-96, February.
  10. Roemer, John E., 1998. "Why the poor do not expropriate the rich: an old argument in new garb," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 399-424, December.
  11. Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," Penn CARESS Working Papers ecf70d639d700dba5327ab0c8, Penn Economics Department.
  12. Ray, Debraj & Vohra, Rajiv, 1997. "Equilibrium Binding Agreements," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 30-78, March.
  13. Levy, Gilat, 2004. "A model of political parties," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 250-277, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Vincent Anesi & Philippe De Donder, 2011. "Secondary issues and party politics: an application to environmental policy," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 36(3), pages 519-546, April.

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