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An Overlapping Generations Model of Electoral Competition

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  • Alberto Alesina
  • Stephen E. Spear

Abstract

This paper presents a dynamic model of political competition between two "parties" with different policy preferences. A "party" is explicitly modeled as a sequence of overlapping generations of candidates, all of whom face finite decision horizons. In general, there is a conflict between the interests of the individual policymakers and those of the "party" , which includes subsequent generations of candidates. We characterize this conflict and suggest a scheme of "intergenerational transfers" within the party which can resolve or mitigate this conflict. The paper shows how the "overlapping generations" model can be usefully applied to the political arena.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 2354.

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Date of creation: Aug 1987
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2354

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  1. Coughlin, Peter & Nitzan, Shmuel, 1981. "Directional and local electoral equilibria with probabilistic voting," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 226-239, April.
  2. John Ledyard, 1984. "The pure theory of large two-candidate elections," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 44(1), pages 7-41, January.
  3. John Lott & W. Reed, 1989. "Shirking and sorting in a political market with finite-lived politicians," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 61(1), pages 75-96, April.
  4. Hinich, M., 1976. "Equilibrium in Spatial Voting: The Median Voter Result is an Artifact," Working Papers 119, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  5. Friedman, James W., 1985. "Cooperative equilibria in finite horizon noncooperative supergames," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 390-398, August.
  6. McKelvey, Richard D, 1975. "Policy Related Voting and Electoral Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 43(5-6), pages 815-43, Sept.-Nov.
  7. Cremer, Jacques, 1986. "Cooperation in Ongoing Organizations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(1), pages 33-49, February.
  8. Hinich, Melvin J. & Ledyard, John O. & Ordeshook, Peter C., 1972. "Nonvoting and the existence of equilibrium under majority rule," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 144-153, April.
  9. Alesina, Alberto & Tabellini, Guido, 1988. "Credibility and politics," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(2-3), pages 542-550, March.
  10. Benoit, Jean-Pierre & Krishna, Vijay, 1985. "Finitely Repeated Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(4), pages 905-22, July.
  11. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
  12. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
  13. Alesina, Alberto, 1987. "Macroeconomic Policy in a Two-Party System as a Repeated Game," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(3), pages 651-78, August.
  14. Wittman, Donald, 1977. "Candidates with policy preferences: A dynamic model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 180-189, February.
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