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Partisan politics : parties, primaries and elections

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  • Agustín Casas

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    Abstract

    Parties' candidates are chosen by different nomination rules. Recent empirical evidence shows that these rules influence the attributes of the nominees; for instance, open primaries in the U.S. choose more extreme candidates than closed primaries. Despite this evidence, the literature does not provide an explanation of why appealing to a more moderate electorate -as during open primariesresults in more extreme candidates. I build a model that shows that open primaries elect \predictable extremists", while, for instance, party leaders would chose \moderate mavericks". I obtain these results through a model that puts together 3 pieces of partisan politics: affiliation decisions, nomination rules, and an observed endogenous valence, which (together with party membership) signals the candidates' ideologies. Moreover, I investigate the welfare implications of three methods: nomination by the party leader, by closed primaries, and by open primaries. I show the conditions under which nomination by party leaders leads to higher social welfare than nomination by open primaries. Furthermore, I show that higher screening by parties, leads to more ideologically uncertain candidates. In sum, I argue that party affiliation decisions, and endogenous valence play a large role in understanding the effects of nomination rules on the political equilibria.

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    Paper provided by Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía in its series Economics Working Papers with number we1315.

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    Date of creation: Jul 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:cte:werepe:we1315

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    1. Ashworth, Scott & Bueno de Mesquita, Ethan, 2009. "Elections with platform and valence competition," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 191-216, September.
    2. Andrea Mattozzi & Antonio Merlo, 2005. "Political Careers or Career Politicians?," PIER Working Paper Archive 05-032, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 01 Dec 2005.
    3. Nicolas Sahuguet, 2010. "Party Organization and Electoral Competition," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(2), pages 212-242.
    4. Daniel Diermeier & Michael Keane & Antonio Merlo, 2002. "A Political Economy Model of Congressional Careers," PIER Working Paper Archive 04-037, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 01 Sep 2004.
    5. Enriqueta Aragones & Zvika Neeman, 1994. "Strategic Ambiguity in Electoral Competition," Discussion Papers, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science 1083, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    6. Navin Kartik & R. Preston McAfee, 2007. "Signaling Character in Electoral Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 852-870, June.
    7. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
    8. Gerber, Elisabeth R & Morton, Rebecca B, 1998. "Primary Election Systems and Representation," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(2), pages 304-24, October.
    9. Hummel, Patrick, 2010. "On the nature of equilibria in a Downsian model with candidate valence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 425-445, November.
    10. Callander, Steven & Wilkie, Simon, 2007. "Lies, damned lies, and political campaigns," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 262-286, August.
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