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Political Cycles: Issue Ownership and the Opposition Advantage




In modern democracies, common wisdom suggests that political parties alternate in power due to voters' disappointment. The aim of this paper is to show that parties' turnover may be due to voters' "satisfaction." Our model is built on two main assumptions: Parties "own" different issues, and investments in the provision of public goods create a linkage between successive elections. We show that no party can maintain itself in power forever when the median voter is moderate enough. This result holds when the parties' main objective is to win the election and is compatible with a large range of candidates subobjectives that may change from one election to the next. We also provide some novel welfare implications. Whereas rent-seeker candidates always dominate reelection-concerned candidates in one public good models, rent-seeker candidates may be welfare improving compared with reelection-concerned candidates. Copyright © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc..

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  • Raphaël Soubeyran & Pascal Gautier, 2008. "Political Cycles: Issue Ownership and the Opposition Advantage," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 10(4), pages 685-716, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jpbect:v:10:y:2008:i:4:p:685-716

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alesina, Alberto & Sachs, Jeffrey, 1988. "Political Parties and the Business Cycle in the United States, 1948-1984," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 20(1), pages 63-82, February.
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    1. repec:cup:apsrev:v:104:y:2010:i:04:p:745-765_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Aragonés, Enriqueta & Castanheira, Micael & Giani, Marco, 2012. "Electoral Competition through Issue Selection," CEPR Discussion Papers 9012, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Krasa, Stefan & Polborn, Mattias, 2010. "Competition between Specialized Candidates," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 104(04), pages 745-765, November.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games


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