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Party Formation and Racism

  • Anesi, Vincent
  • De Donder, Philippe

We develop a model where voters differ in their exogenous income and in their ideological views regarding what we call 'racism'. Electoral competition, modelled à la Levy (2004), takes place between (one or several) parties which propose platforms consisting of both an ideological and an economic dimension. Our objective is to explain the emergence of racist policies when a majority of voters is not racist, and to understand the role played by political parties in this emergence. We first show that, in a pure citizen-candidate model where parties are absent, the only equilibrium consists of the non-racist policy. We then show that allowing for the formation of political parties generates equilibria with racist policies. Finally, our main result states that, if the economic issue is sufficiently salient compared to the ideological one, all equilibria consist of a racist policy, and that the lowest degree of racism of these policies increases with the proportion of poor people in the economy.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6281.

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Date of creation: May 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6281
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  1. Austen-Smith, David & Wallerstein, Michael, 2006. "Redistribution and affirmative action," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(10-11), pages 1789-1823, November.
  2. Massimo Morelli, 2001. "Party Formation and Policy Outcomes under Different Electoral Systems," Economics Working Papers 0018, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
  3. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1997. "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 85-114, February.
  4. Martin J. Osborne & Al Slivinksi, 1995. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," Department of Economics Working Papers 1995-01, McMaster University.
  5. Joan-Maria Esteban & Debraj Ray, 1991. "On the Measurement of Polarization," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 18, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  6. John Roemer & Karine Van-Der-Straeten, 2004. "Xenophobia and distribution in France : A politico-economic analysis," Working Papers hal-00242934, HAL.
  7. Woojin Lee & John E. Roemer, 2004. "Racism and Redistribution in the United States: A Solution to the Problem of American Exceptionalism," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1462, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  8. Fernández, Raquel & Levy, Gilat, 2008. "Diversity and redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 925-943, June.
  9. John Roemer & Karine Van-Der-Straeten, 2004. "The political economy of xenophobia and distribution : the case of Denmark," Working Papers hal-00242915, HAL.
  10. Roemer, John E., 1998. "Why the poor do not expropriate the rich: an old argument in new garb," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 399-424, December.
  11. Ray, D. & Vohra, R., 1993. "Equilibrium Binding Agreements," Papers 21, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  12. Edward L. Glaeser, 2002. "The Political Economy of Hatred," NBER Working Papers 9171, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Levy, Gilat, 2004. "A model of political parties," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 250-277, April.
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