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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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  1. Poole, Keith T. & Rosenthal, Howard, 1996. "Are legislators ideologues or the agents of constituents?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 707-717, April.
  2. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1997. "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 85-114, February.
  3. Alesina, Alberto & Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William, 1999. "Public goods and ethnic divisions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2108, The World Bank.
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  8. Cremer, Jacques, 1986. "Cooperation in Ongoing Organizations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(1), pages 33-49, February.
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  10. Palfrey, Thomas R, 1984. "Spatial Equilibrium with Entry," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(1), pages 139-56, January.
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  12. Torsten Persson & Gerard Roland & Guido Tabellini, . "Separation of Powers and Political Accountability," Working Papers 100, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  13. Caillaud, B. & Tirole, J., 1999. "Party governance and ideological bias," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 779-789, April.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Testa, Cecilia, 2010. "Bicameralism and corruption," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 181-198, February.
  3. Mattozzi, Andrea & Merlo, Antonio, 2008. "Political careers or career politicians?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 597-608, April.
  4. Gil S. Epstein & Yosef Mealem & Shmuel Nitzan, 2012. "The Efficacy and Efforts of Interest Groups in Post Elections Policy Formation," CESifo Working Paper Series 4009, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Mattozzi, Andrea & Merlo, Antonio, 2007. "Mediocracy," CEPR Discussion Papers 6163, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  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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