Electoral platforms, implemented policies and abstention
AbstractRecent studies of American politics evidence that political polarization of both the electorate and the political elite have moved 'almost in tandem for the past half century' (McCarty et al., 2003, p.2), and that party polarization has steadily increased since the 1970s. On the other hand, the empirical literature on party platforms and implemented policies has consistently found an imperfect but nonnegligible correlation between electoral platforms and governmental policies: while platforms tend to be polarized, policies are moderate or centrist. However, existing theoretical models of political competition are not manifestly compatible with these observations. In this paper, we distinguish between electoral platforms and implemented policies by incorporating a non-trivial policy-setting process. It follows that voters may care not only about the implemented policy but also about the platform they support with their vote. We find that while parties tend to polarize their positions, the risk of alienating their constituency prevents them from radicalizing. The analysis evidences that the distribution of the electorate, and not only the (expected) location of a pivotal voter, matters in determining policies. Our results are consistent with the observation of polarized platforms and moderate policies, and the alienation and indifference components of abstention.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 571.
Date of creation: Sep 2001
Date of revision: Oct 2004
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Abstention; alienation; platforms; polarization; voting;
Other versions of this item:
- Humberto Llavador, 2006. "Electoral Platforms, Implemented Policies, and Abstention," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 55-81, August.
- D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2001-10-22 (All new papers)
- NEP-CDM-2001-10-22 (Collective Decision-Making)
- NEP-POL-2001-10-22 (Positive Political Economics)
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