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Satisficing and Selection in Electoral Competition

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  • Bendor, Jonathan
  • Mookherjee, Dilip
  • Ray, Debraj

Abstract

We model political parties as adaptive decision-makers who compete in a sequence of elections. The key assumptions are that winners satisfice (the winning party in period t keeps its platform in t + 1) while losers search . Under fairly mild assumptions about losers' search rules, we show that the sequence of winning platforms is absorbed into the top cycle of the (finite) set of feasible platforms with probability one. This implies that if there is a majority rule winner then ultimately the incumbent party will espouse it. However, our model, unlike Downs–Hotelling or Kollman–Miller–Page, does not predict full convergence: we show, under weak assumptions about the out-party's search, that losing parties do not stabilize at the majority rule winner (should it exist). We also establish, both analytically and computationally, that the adaptive process is robust: if a majority rule winner nearly exists then the trajectory of winning platforms tends to be close to the trajectory of a process which actually has such a winner.

Suggested Citation

  • Bendor, Jonathan & Mookherjee, Dilip & Ray, Debraj, 2006. "Satisficing and Selection in Electoral Competition," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 1(2), pages 171-200, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:now:jlqjps:100.00000005
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/100.00000005
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    Cited by:

    1. Pascal Gautier & Raphael Soubeyran, 2005. "Political Cycles: the Opposition Advantage," Public Economics 0510019, EconWPA.
    2. 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.
    3. Vincent Anesi, 2012. "A new old solution for weak tournaments," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 39(4), pages 919-930, October.

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