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Primaries: The Unifying Force

  • Rafael Hortala-Vallve

    ()

  • Hannes Mueller

    ()

We present a formal model of intra-party politics to explain candidate selection within parties. We think of parties as heterogeneous groups of individuals who aim to implement a set of policies but who differ in their priorities. When party heterogeneity is too large, parties are in danger of splitting into smaller yet more homogeneous groups. In this context we argue that primaries can have a unifying role if the party elite cannot commit to policy concessions. Our model shows how alignment in the preferred policies of various factions within a party, the relative weight of each of these factions and the electoral system interact to create incentives for the adoption of primary elections. We discuss the existing empirical literature in the light of our theoretical predictions to provide a new, structured perspective on the adoption of primary elections.

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Paper provided by Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC) in its series UFAE and IAE Working Papers with number 843.10.

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Length: 30
Date of creation: 30 Sep 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:aub:autbar:843.10
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  1. Nicolas Sahuguet, 2010. "Party Organization and Electoral Competition," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(2), pages 212-242.
  2. Timothy Besley & Ian Preston, 2006. "Electoral Bias and Policy Choice:Theory and Evidence," STICERD - Political Economy and Public Policy Paper Series 17, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  3. Fernando Aragon, 2009. "Candidate nomination procedures andpolitical selection: evidence from LatinAmerican parties," STICERD - Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers Series 003, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  4. Coate, Stephen & Knight, Brian, 2007. "Socially Optimal Districting: A Theoretical and Empirical Exploration," Working Papers 07-06, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
  5. Osborne, Martin J & Slivinski, Al, 1996. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(1), pages 65-96, February.
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