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The role of political parties: An analysis based on transaction costs

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  • Philip Jones
  • John Hudson

Abstract

This paper explores the proposition that political parties reduce the ‘transaction costs’ of electoral participation. Political parties provide a low cost signal of a candidate's policies and personal characteristics and, in this way, reduce voters' information costs. With reference to ‘transaction cost economics’, political parties offer an ‘implicit contract’ between voters and politicians and thereby reduce the scope for opportunism by politicians. This impact on transaction costs is important in any evaluation of public policy towards political parties. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Suggested Citation

  • Philip Jones & John Hudson, 1998. "The role of political parties: An analysis based on transaction costs," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 94(1), pages 175-189, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:94:y:1998:i:1:p:175-189
    DOI: 10.1023/A:1004924417001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Levitt, Steven D, 1994. "Using Repeat Challengers to Estimate the Effect of Campaign Spending on Election Outcomes in the U.S. House," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 777-798, August.
    2. Jones, Philip & Hudson, John, 1996. "Standardization and the costs of assessing quality," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 355-361, September.
    3. Jones, Philip & Hudson, John, 1996. "The Quality of Political Leadership: A Case Study of John Major," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 26(02), pages 229-244, April.
    4. Wittman, Donald, 1989. "Why Democracies Produce Efficient Results," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1395-1424, December.
    5. Eggertsson,Thrainn, 1990. "Economic Behavior and Institutions," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521348911, May.
    6. Schram, Arthur & Sonnemans, Joep, 1996. "Why people vote: Experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 417-442, August.
    7. Maute, Manfred F. & Forrester, William Jr., 1991. "The effect of attribute qualities on consumer decision making: a causal model of external information search," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 643-666, December.
    8. George J. Stigler, 1961. "The Economics of Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 69, pages 213-213.
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    Cited by:

    1. Benny Geys & Jan Vermeir, 2014. "Party Cues In Elections Under Multilevel Governance: Theory And Evidence From Us States," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 1029-1058, August.
    2. Raffaella Santolini, 2008. "A spatial cross-sectional analysis of political trends in Italian municipalities," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 87(3), pages 431-451, August.
    3. Marcel Gérard & Laurent van Malderen, 2012. "Tax Interaction among Walloon Municipalities: Is there Room for Yardstick Competition, Intellectual Trend and Partisan Monopoly Effect?," CESifo Working Paper Series 4025, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Claudio Parés, 2010. "Political Careers Concerns and Political Parties," Working Papers 02-2010, Departamento de Economía, Universidad de Concepción.
    5. Ivo Bischoff, 2005. "Party competition in a heterogeneous electorate: The role of dominant-issue voters," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 122(1), pages 221-243, January.
    6. Geys, Benny & Vermeir, Jan, 2008. "Party cues and yardstick voting," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 470-477, June.
    7. Gianmarco Daniele & Sergio Galletta & Benny Geys, 2017. "Abandon Ship? Party Brands and Politicians' Responses to a Political Scandal," IdEP Economic Papers 1703, USI Università della Svizzera italiana.
    8. Emanuel V. Towfigh & Sebastian J. Goerg & Andreas Glöckner & Philip Leifeld & Aniol Llorente-Saguer & Sophie Bade & Carlos Kurschilgen, 2016. "Do direct-democratic procedures lead to higher acceptance than political representation?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 167(1), pages 47-65, April.
    9. Geys, Benny, 2012. "Success and failure in electoral competition: Selective issue emphasis under incomplete issue ownership," Discussion Papers, Research Professorship & Project "The Future of Fiscal Federalism" SP II 2012-102, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).

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