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Electoral poaching and party identification

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  • Kovenock, Dan
  • Roberson, Brian

Abstract

This paper studies electoral competition in a model of redistributive politics with deterministic voting and heterogeneous voter loyalties to political parties. We construct a natural measure of party strength based on the sizes and intensities of a party’s loyal voter segments and demonstrate how party behavior varies with the two parties’ strengths. In equilibrium, parties target or poach a strict subset of the opposition party’s loyal voters: offering those voters a high expected transfer, while freezing out the remainder with a zero transfer. The size of the subset of opposition voters frozen out and, consequently, the level of inequality in utilities generated by a party’s equilibrium redistribution schedule is increasing in the opposition party’s strength. We also construct a measure of political polarization that is increasing in the sum and symmetry of the parties’ strengths, and find that the expected ex-post inequality in utilities of the implemented policy is increasing in political polarization. -- In dieser Studie wird der Wahlkampf in einem Modellrahmen mit umverteilender Politik untersucht. Dabei gehen wir von den Annahmen deterministischen Wahlverhaltens und heterogenen Wählerbindung an die politischen Parteien aus. Wir generieren eine natürliche Messgröße für die Stärke einer Partei. Sie beruht auf der Größe und Intensität der parteiloyalen Wählersegmente und zeigt wie sich das Verhalten der Parteien verändert in Abhängigkeit von der Stärke der beiden Parteien. Im Gleichgewicht versuchen die Parteien einen Teil der loyalen Wählerschaft der Gegenpartei mit dem Versprechen hoher Transferzahlungen abzuwerben, während den restlichen Teilen der gegnerischen Wählerschaft Null-Transfers in Aussicht gestellt werden. Die Anzahl dieser letzteren Oppositionswähler, die keine Transferzahlungen erhalten werden, und das Niveau der Ungleichverteilung der Nutzen durch die im Gleichgewicht resultierende Umverteilung steigen in Abhängigkeit von der Stärke der Oppositionspartei. Des weiteren wird eine Messgröße der politischen Polarisierung konstruiert, das mit der Summe und Symmetrie der Parteienstärke steigt. Als Ergebnis lässt sich feststellen, dass das erwartete ex-post Ungleichgewicht des Nutzens der implementierten Politik ansteigt, je stärker die politische Polarisierung ist.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Processes and Governance with number SP II 2005-17.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbmpg:spii200517

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  1. Esteban, J. & Ray, D., 1993. "On the Measurement of Polarization," UFAE and IAE Working Papers, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC) 221.93, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  2. Wang, You-Qiang & Tsui, Kai-Yuen, 2000. " Polarization Orderings and New Classes of Polarization Indices," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 2(3), pages 349-63.
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  6. Kovenock, D. & de Vries, C.G., 1995. "The All-Pay Auction with Complete Information," UFAE and IAE Working Papers, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC) 311.95, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
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  11. Lizzeri, Alessandro, 1999. "Budget Deficits and Redistributive Politics," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(4), pages 909-28, October.
  12. Laslier, Jean-Francois & Picard, Nathalie, 2002. "Distributive Politics and Electoral Competition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 106-130, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Kovenock, Dan & Roberson, Brian, 2008. "Inefficient redistribution and inefficient redistributive politics," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Processes and Governance SP II 2008-01, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  2. Kovenock, Dan & Roberson, Brian, 2011. "Non-partisan ‘get-out-the-vote’ efforts and policy outcomes," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 728-739.
  3. Crutzen, Benoît S.Y. & Sahuguet, Nicolas, 2009. "Redistributive politics with distortionary taxation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 144(1), pages 264-279, January.
  4. Kovenock, Dan & Roberson, Brian, 2008. "Is the 50-state strategy optimal?," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Processes and Governance SP II 2008-16, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).

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