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Electoral Competition and Special Interest Politics

  • Grossman, Gene M
  • Helpman, Elhanan

We study the competition between two political parties for seats in a legislature. The parties have fixed positions on some issues, but vary their positions on others in order to attract votes and campaign contributions. In this context, we examine whether special interest groups are governed by an electoral motive or an influence in their campaign giving, and how their contributions affect the equilibrium platforms. We show that each party is induced to behave as if it were maximizing a weighted sum of the aggregate welfares of informed voters and members of special interest groups. The party that is expected to win a majority of seats caters more to the special interests. Copyright 1996 by The Review of Economic Studies Limited.

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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Review of Economic Studies.

Volume (Year): 63 (1996)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 265-86

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Handle: RePEc:bla:restud:v:63:y:1996:i:2:p:265-86
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  1. Grossman, Gene M & Shapiro, Carl, 1984. "Informative Advertising with Differentiated Products," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(1), pages 63-81, January.
  2. Assar Lindbeck & J├Ârgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
  3. Coughlin, Peter & Nitzan, Shmuel, 1981. "Electoral outcomes with probabilistic voting and Nash social welfare maxima," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 113-121, February.
  4. Snyder, James M, 1989. "Election Goals and the Allocation of Campaign Resources," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(3), pages 637-60, May.
  5. David Austen-Smith, 1987. "Interest groups, campaign contributions, and probabilistic voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 54(2), pages 123-139, January.
  6. Grossman, Gene & Helpman, Elhanan, 1993. "Protection for Sale," CEPR Discussion Papers 827, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Denzau, Arthur T & Kats, Amoz, 1977. "Expected Plurality Voting Equilibrium and Social Choice Functions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(2), pages 277-33, June.
  8. Peter Coughlin, 1986. "Elections and income redistribution," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 27-91, January.
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