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Safe Seats, Marginal Seats, And Party Platforms: The Logic Of Platform Differentiation

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  • James M. Snyder

Abstract

This paper analyzes a spatial model of two‐party competition where parties are not monolithic decision makers but collections of self‐motivated officeholders. Party platforms are chosen collectively by incumbent officeholders. The main result is that in a stable equilibrium party platforms do not converge to the same point. Instead, the parties choose platforms so that voters can distinguish between them, and these platforms divide the set of legislative districts cleanly along party lines. All incumbents prefer this situation to one where the platforms converge, because it improves their own chances of reelection.

Suggested Citation

  • James M. Snyder, 1994. "Safe Seats, Marginal Seats, And Party Platforms: The Logic Of Platform Differentiation," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(3), pages 201-213, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecopol:v:6:y:1994:i:3:p:201-213
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0343.1994.tb00097.x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Dixit, Avinash & Londregan, John, 1998. "Fiscal federalism and redistributive politics," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 153-180, May.
    2. Levitt, Steven D & Poterba, James M, 1999. "Congressional Distributive Politics and State Economic Performance," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 99(1-2), pages 185-216, April.
    3. Steven Callander, 2005. "Electoral Competition in Heterogeneous Districts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(5), pages 1116-1145, October.
    4. Ignacio Ortuno-Ortin & Christian Schultz, 1999. "Divide the Dollar, A Model of Interregional Redistributive Politics," EPRU Working Paper Series 99-02, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    5. Elisabeth R. Gerber & Jeffrey B. Lewis, 2004. "Beyond the Median: Voter Preferences, District Heterogeneity, and Political Representation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(6), pages 1364-1383, December.
    6. Che, Yi & Xiao, Rui, 2020. "Import competition, fast-track authority and U.S. policy toward China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 974-996.
    7. Evrenk, Haldun & Lambie-Hanson, Timothy & Xu, Yourong, 2013. "Party-bosses vs. party-primaries: Quality of legislature under different selectorates," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 168-182.
    8. T. D. P. Waters, 2017. "Cracking the whip: spatial voting with party discipline and voter polarization," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 173(1), pages 61-89, October.

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