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Radical Moderation: Recapturing Power in Two-party Parliamentary Systems

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Abstract

We estimate the parameters of a reputational game of political competition using data from five two-party parliamentary systems. We find that latent party preferences (and party reputations) persist with high probability across election periods, with one exception: parties with extreme preferences who find themselves out of power switch to moderation with higher probability than the equivalent estimated likelihood for parties in government (extreme or moderate) or for moderate parties in opposition. We find evidence for the presence of significant country-specific differences. Notably, we estimate that in the long-term, Australia is less than half as likely to experience extreme policies and Australian governments enjoy significantly longer spells in office as compared to their counterparts in Greece, Malta, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. The model outperforms alternative naive models on a battery of goodness-of-fit tests.

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Paper provided by University of Rochester - Wallis Institute of Political Economy in its series Wallis Working Papers with number WP61.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:roc:wallis:wp61

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Postal: University of Rochester, Wallis Institute, Harkness 109B Rochester, New York 14627 U.S.A.

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  1. Tasos Kalandrakis, 2008. "A Reputational Theory of Two Party Competition," Wallis Working Papers WP57, University of Rochester - Wallis Institute of Political Economy.
  2. Daniel Diermeier & Michael Keane & Antonio Merlo, 2005. "A Political Economy Model of Congressional Careers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 347-373, March.
  3. Merlo, Antonio, 1996. "Bargaining over governments in a stochastic environment," Bulletins 7476, University of Minnesota, Economic Development Center.
  4. J.S. Cramer, 1998. "Predictive Performance of the Binary Logit Model in Unbalanced Samples," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 98-085/4, Tinbergen Institute.
  5. Daniel Diermeier & Hulya Eraslan & Antonio Merlo, 2003. "A Structural Model of Government Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(1), pages 27-70, January.
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