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Why do parties use primaries?: Political selection versus candidate incentives

  • Fernando Aragón


This paper contrasts empirically two possible explanations for the party decision to use primaries: desire to improve political selection (selection effect), or desire to increase political competition—and incentives—among candidates (incentive effect). Using a simple model of endogenous primaries, I show that each explanation implies a different relation between primary adoption and the strength of partisan support. I estimate this relation using the case of Latin American presidential primaries and find robust evidence that the incentive effect dominates the selection effect. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

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Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

Volume (Year): 160 (2014)
Issue (Month): 1 (July)
Pages: 205-225

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Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:160:y:2014:i:1:p:205-225
DOI: 10.1007/s11127-013-0076-8
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  1. Aghion, Philippe & Alesina, Alberto F & Trebbi, Francesco, 2002. "Endogenous Political Institutions," CEPR Discussion Papers 3473, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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