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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. 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.
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  3. Nicolas Sahuguet, 2010. "Party Organization and Electoral Competition," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(2), pages 212-242.
  4. Timothy Besley, 2005. "Political Selection," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 43-60, Summer.
  5. Levy, Gilat, 2004. "A model of political parties," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 250-277, April.
  6. Adam Meirowitz, 2005. "Informational Party Primaries and Strategic Ambiguity," Journal of Theoretical Politics, SAGE Publishing, vol. 17(1), pages 107-136, January.
  7. North, Douglass C. & Weingast, Barry R., 1989. "Constitutions and Commitment: The Evolution of Institutions Governing Public Choice in Seventeenth-Century England," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(04), pages 803-832, December.
  8. Jackson, Matthew O. & Mathevet, Laurent & Mattes, Kyle, . "Nomination processes and policy outcomes," Working Papers 1250, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  9. Timothy Besley & Ian Preston, 2007. "Electoral Bias and Policy Choice: Theory and Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(4), pages 1473-1510.
  10. Martin J. Osborne & Al Slivinksi, 1995. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," Department of Economics Working Papers 1995-01, McMaster University.
  11. Gerber, Elisabeth R & Morton, Rebecca B, 1998. "Primary Election Systems and Representation," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(2), pages 304-24, October.
  12. David S. Lee & Enrico Moretti & Matthew J. Butler, 2004. "Do Voters Affect or Elect Policies? Evidence from the U. S. House," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(3), pages 807-859.
  13. Folke, Olle & Persson, Torsten & Rickne, Johanna, 2014. "Preferential Voting, Accountability and Promotions into Political Power: Evidence from Sweden," Working Paper Series 1002, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  14. Boix, Carles & Svolik, Milan, 2009. "The Foundations of Limited Authoritarian Government: Institutions and Power-Sharing in Dictatorships," Papers 10-21-2009b, Princeton University, Research Program in Political Economy.
  15. Bernard Caillaud & Jean Tirole, 2002. "Parties as Political Intermediaries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1453-1489.
  16. Gilles Serra, 2011. "Why primaries? The party's tradeoff between policy and valence," Journal of Theoretical Politics, SAGE Publishing, vol. 23(1), pages 21-51, January.
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