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Primaries: The Unifying Force

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  • Rafael Hortala-Vallve

    ()

  • Hannes Mueller

    ()

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Rafael Hortala-Vallve & Hannes Mueller, 2010. "Primaries: The Unifying Force," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 843.10, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  • Handle: RePEc:aub:autbar:843.10
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Levy, Gilat, 2004. "A model of political parties," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 250-277, April.
    2. 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.
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    10. Nicolas Sahuguet, 2010. "Party Organization and Electoral Competition," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(2), pages 212-242.
    11. repec:cup:apsrev:v:67:y:1973:i:02:p:540-554_14 is not listed on IDEAS
    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. 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.
    14. 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 304-324, October.
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    16. 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.
    17. Adam Meirowitz, 2005. "Informational Party Primaries and Strategic Ambiguity," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 17(1), pages 107-136, January.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bernard Grofman & Orestis Troumpounis & Dimitrios Xefteris, 2016. "Electoral competition with primaries and quality asymmetries," Working Papers 135286117, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    2. repec:cup:apsrev:v:112:y:2018:i:01:p:68-81_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Fernando Aragón, 2014. "Why do parties use primaries?: Political selection versus candidate incentives," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 160(1), pages 205-225, July.
    4. Pablo Amorós & M. Socorro Puy & Ricardo Martínez, 2016. "Closed primaries versus top-two primaries," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 167(1), pages 21-35, April.
    5. Moskalenko, Anna, 2017. "How public perception towards party (dis)unity a ects the introduction of primaries," Working Papers 2072/306516, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Department of Economics.
    6. Amorós, P. & Martínez, Ricardo & Puy, M. Socorro, 2013. "The closed primaries versus the top-two primary," UC3M Working papers. Economics we1319, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
    7. Hyytinen, Ari & Meriläinen, Jaakko & Saarimaa, Tuukka & Toivanen, Otto & Tukiainen, Janne, 2018. "Public Employees as Politicians: Evidence from Close Elections," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 112(01), pages 68-81, February.
    8. Hande Mutlu-Eren, 2015. "Keeping the party together," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 164(1), pages 117-133, July.
    9. 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.
    10. Meriläinen, Jaakko & Tukiainen, Janne, 2016. "Primary Effect in Open-List Elections," Working Papers 79, VATT Institute for Economic Research.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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