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Electoral Platforms, Implemented Policies, and Abstention

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  • Humberto Llavador

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Abstract

Recent studies of American politics evidence that political polarization of both the electorate and the political elite have moved 'almost in tandem for the past half century' (McCarty et al., 2003, p.2), and that party polarization has steadily increased since the 1970s. On the other hand, the empirical literature on party platforms and implemented policies has consistently found an imperfect but nonnegligible correlation between electoral platforms and governmental policies: while platforms tend to be polarized, policies are moderate or centrist. However, existing theoretical models of political competition are not manifestly compatible with these observations. In this paper, we distinguish between electoral platforms and implemented policies by incorporating a non-trivial policy-setting process. It follows that voters may care not only about the implemented policy but also about the platform they support with their vote. We find that while parties tend to polarize their positions, the risk of alienating their constituency prevents them from radicalizing. The analysis evidences that the distribution of the electorate, and not only the (expected) location of a pivotal voter, matters in determining policies. Our results are consistent with the observation of polarized platforms and moderate policies, and the alienation and indifference components of abstention.
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Suggested Citation

  • Humberto Llavador, 2006. "Electoral Platforms, Implemented Policies, and Abstention," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 27(1), pages 55-81, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:sochwe:v:27:y:2006:i:1:p:55-81
    DOI: 10.1007/s00355-006-0111-5
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Konstantinos Matakos & Orestis Troumpounis & Dimitrios Xefteris, 2014. "Turnout and polarization under alternative electoral systems," Working Papers 77401404, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    2. Llavador, Humberto, 2008. "Voting with preferences over margins of victory," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 355-365, November.
    3. Laussel, Didier & Le Breton, Michel & Xefteris, Dimitrios, 2013. "Simple Centrifugal Incentives in Downsian Dynamics," TSE Working Papers 13-405, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    4. Dimitrios Xefteris & Nicholas Ziros, 2017. "Strategic vote trading under complete information," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 03-2017, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
    5. Dimitrios Xefteris & Nicholas Ziros, 2017. "Strategic Vote Trading in Power Sharing Systems," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 76-94, May.
    6. Amrita Dillon & GANI ALDASHEV, 2015. "Voter Turnout and Political Rents," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 17(4), pages 528-552, August.
    7. Kimiko Terai, 2009. "Electoral control over policy-motivated candidates and their policy biases," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 43-64, January.
    8. Alejandro Saporiti, 2014. "Power sharing and electoral equilibrium," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 55(3), pages 705-729, April.
    9. repec:eee:jeborg:v:143:y:2017:i:c:p:58-77 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Herrera, Helios & Llorente-Saguer, Aniol & McMurray, Joseph C., 2016. "The Marginal Voter's Curse," CEPR Discussion Papers 11463, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Daniel B. Jones & Randall Walsh, 2016. "How Do Voters Matter? Evidence from US Congressional Redistricting," NBER Working Papers 22526, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    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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