IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Electoral Platforms, Implemented Policies, and Abstention

  • Humberto Llavador

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 outcomes: 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. This paper distinguishes 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 political outcomes. Our results are consistent with the observation of polarized platforms and moderate policies, and the alienation and indifference components of abstention.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Our checks indicate that this address may not be valid because: 404 Not Found. If this is indeed the case, please notify (Bruno Guallar)

Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 34.

in new window

Date of creation: Dec 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:34
Contact details of provider: Postal: Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27, 08005 Barcelona
Phone: +34 93 542-1222
Fax: +34 93 542-1223
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Ignacio Ortuno-Ortin & Anke Gerber, 1998. "Political compromise and endogenous formation of coalitions," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 445-454.
  2. Leonardo Felli & Antonio Merlo, . "Endogenous Lobbying," CARESS Working Papres 00-03, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  3. Dixit, A. & Grossmann, G.M. & Gul, F., 1998. "A Theory of Political Compromise," Papers 191, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
  4. Ignacio OrtuÓo-OrtÎn, 1997. "A spatial model of political competition and proportional representation," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 427-438.
  5. DE SINOPOLI, Francesco & IANNANTUONI, Giovanna, 2000. "A spatial voting model where proportional rule leads to two-party equilibria," CORE Discussion Papers 2000037, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  6. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini , Guido, 1997. "Political Economics and Macroeconomic Policy," Seminar Papers 630, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  7. Aragones, Enriqueta & Palfrey, Thomas. R., 2000. "Mixed Equilibrium in a Downsian Model With a Favored Candidate," Working Papers 1102, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  8. Matthew Ellman & Leonard Wantchekon, 2000. "Electoral Competition Under The Threat Of Political Unrest," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(2), pages 499-531, May.
  9. Humberto G. Llavador, 2000. "original papers : Abstention and political competition," Review of Economic Design, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 411-432.
  10. Alessandro Lizzeri & Nicola Persico, . ""The Provision of Public Goods Under Alternative Electoral Incentives''," CARESS Working Papres 98-08, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  11. Alesina, Alberto & Rosenthal, Howard, 2000. "Polarized platforms and moderate policies with checks and balances," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 1-20, January.
  12. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1996. "Electoral Competition and Special Interest Politics," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(2), pages 265-86, April.
  13. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1991. "Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061414, June.
  14. Ansolabehere, Stephen & Snyder, James M, Jr, 2000. " Valence Politics and Equilibrium in Spatial Election Models," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 103(3-4), pages 327-36, June.
  15. Alesina, Alberto & Rosenthal, Howard, 1996. "A Theory of Divided Government," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(6), pages 1311-41, November.
  16. Austen-Smith, David & Banks, Jeffrey., 1987. "Elections, Coalitions, and Legislative Outcomes," Working Papers 643, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  17. Wittman, Donald, 1977. "Candidates with policy preferences: A dynamic model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 180-189, February.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:34. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Bruno Guallar)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.