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Electoral Competition and Special Interest Politics

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  • Gene M. Grossman
  • Elhanan Helpman

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1996. "Electoral Competition and Special Interest Politics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(2), pages 265-286.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:63:y:1996:i:2:p:265-286.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.2307/2297852
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1994. "Protection for Sale," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 833-850, September.
    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. Gene M. Grossman & Carl Shapiro, 1984. "Informative Advertising with Differentiated Products," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(1), pages 63-81.
    4. David Austen-Smith, 1987. "Interest groups, campaign contributions, and probabilistic voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 54(2), pages 123-139, January.
    5. 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.
    6. Peter Coughlin, 1986. "Elections and income redistribution," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 27-91, January.
    7. Arthur T. Denzau & Amoz Kats, 1977. "Expected Plurality Voting Equilibrium and Social Choice Functions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(2), pages 227-233.
    8. Snyder, James M, 1989. "Election Goals and the Allocation of Campaign Resources," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(3), pages 637-660, May.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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