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The Influence of Special Interests and Party Activists on Electoral Competition


  • Nicolas-Guillaume Martineau


This paper studies the effects on electoral competition of political parties relying on monetary donations and volunteer labour for their electioneering activities. It also examines whether a recorded decline in party activism increases special-interest influence on party policy platforms. Parties are shown to choose differentiated platforms in equilibrium when activists are present, despite factors drawing them together. Special-interest influence on platforms increases when a decline in activism stems from a fall in their motivation, following parties relying less upon them. This reduces procedural welfare, and potentially reduces voter welfare on policy outcomes, thus calling for more strict electoral laws.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicolas-Guillaume Martineau, 2012. "The Influence of Special Interests and Party Activists on Electoral Competition," CESifo Working Paper Series 3811, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3811

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Poutvaara, Panu, 2003. "Party Platforms with Endogenous Party Membership," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 117(1-2), pages 79-98, October.
    2. Robin Boadway & Nicolas Marceau & Steeve Mongrain, 2007. "Redistributive Taxation under Ethical Behaviour," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 109(3), pages 505-529, September.
    3. repec:cup:apsrev:v:88:y:1994:i:01:p:33-47_09 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:cup:apsrev:v:62:y:1968:i:01:p:25-42_11 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Hannes Mueller, 2007. "Political Support and Candidate Choice," JEPS Working Papers 07-002, JEPS.
    6. John Aldrich, 1983. "A spatial model with party activists: implications for electoral dynamics," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 41(1), pages 63-100, January.
    7. Mueller,Dennis C., 2003. "Public Choice III," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521894753, March.
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    More about this item


    activism; special-interest politics; political participation; collective action; electoral competition; electoral financing laws; welfare;

    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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