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Party Polarization and Electoral Accountability

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  • Cecilia Testa

Abstract

In this paper we model the interaction between parties and candidates to highlight the mechanisms by which parties selecting candidates may discipline legislators. Parties are long-lived institutions providing incentives to short-lived candidates. Citizens have preferences over a multimentional policy space comprising an ideological and a monetary dimension. Candidates are policy motivated on the ideological dimension only and have opposing interest with respect to citizens on the monetary dimension. Policy motivation implies that candidates care more about winning elections the bigger the ideological distance from the candidate of the opponent party. Therefore, parties can use strategically polarization to provide incentives to candidates. Because of this strategic use, the polarization of the political race may diverge from the polarization of voters' preferences. In general, the polarization of the political race is a compromise between policy preferences of party members and electoral goals. Finally, when parties converge to the median voter, electoral accountability is inevitably compromised

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Econometric Society in its series Econometric Society 2004 Latin American Meetings with number 130.

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Date of creation: 11 Aug 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ecm:latm04:130

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Keywords: parties; polarization; elections; accountability; convergence;

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References

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Cited by:
  1. Andrea Mattozzi & Antonio Merlo, 2007. "Mediocracy," NBER Working Papers 12920, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Antonio Merlo, 2005. "Whither Political Economy? Theories, Facts and Issues," PIER Working Paper Archive 05-033, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 01 Dec 2005.
  3. Epstein, Gil S. & Mealem, Yosef & Nitzan, Shmuel, 2012. "The Efficacy and Efforts of Interest Groups in Post Elections Policy Formation," IZA Discussion Papers 7031, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Testa, Cecilia, 2010. "Bicameralism and corruption," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 181-198, February.
  5. Antonio Merlo & Andrea Mattozzi, 2005. "Political Careers or Career Politicians?," 2005 Meeting Papers 740, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  6. Sanjay Jain & Sumon Majumdar & Sharun Mukand, 2011. "Walk the Line: Conflict, State Capacity and the Political Dynamics of Reform," Working Papers 1288, Queen's University, Department of Economics.

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