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Adaptive Parties in Spatial Elections


  • Kollman, Ken
  • Miller, John H.
  • Page, Scott E.


We develop a model of two-party spatial elections that departs from the standard model in three respects: parties' information about voters' preferences is limited to polls; parties can be either office-seeking or ideological; and parties are not perfect optimizers, that is, they are modelled as boundedly rational adaptive actors. We employ computer search algorithms to model the adaptive behavior of parties and show that three distinct search algorithms lead to similar results. Our findings suggest that convergence in spatial voting models is robust to variations in the intelligence of parties. We also find that an adaptive party in a complex issue space may not be able to defeat a well-positioned incumbent.

Suggested Citation

  • Kollman, Ken & Miller, John H. & Page, Scott E., 1992. "Adaptive Parties in Spatial Elections," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 86(4), pages 929-937, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:apsrev:v:86:y:1992:i:04:p:929-937_09

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