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The Production Function for Votes


  • John Maloney
  • Andrew Pickering



The Vote Production Function (VPF) has a party's vote depending on (a) its potential vote and (b) the party organization which actualizes it - 'political capital'. Empirical work suggests that moving to the centre would increase your vote if only you could hold political capital constant. The relative weights of the factors in the VPF will determine whether parties converge or polarize ideologically and politicians' rent-seeking behaviour. In most cases, the more important political capital is, the greater the extent of rent seeking. There is thus a welfare case for sidelining party organizations. Compulsory voting might help.

Suggested Citation

  • John Maloney & Andrew Pickering, 2004. "The Production Function for Votes," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 04/559, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  • Handle: RePEc:bri:uobdis:04/559

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2002. "Political Economics: Explaining Economic Policy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661314, January.
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    More about this item


    voting; ideological equilibria; rent-seeking;

    JEL classification:

    • H10 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - General
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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