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The closed primaries versus the top-two primary

  • P. Amorós


  • Ricardo Martínez


  • M. Socorro Puy

The top-two primary recently approved in states like Washington, California, and Alaska eliminates the closed party primaries and creates instead a single ballot in which the first and second place winners pass to the general election. We compare the electoral consequences of the top-two primary with those of the closed primaries. We present a model where each primary procedure induce a sequential game with three stages: candidate-entry stage, primary election, and general election. We analyze the equilibria of these games and show that the top-two primary contributes to political moderation and may increase the number of swing states.

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Paper provided by Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía in its series Economics Working Papers with number we1319.

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Date of creation: Sep 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cte:werepe:we1319
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  1. Jackson, Matthew O. & Mathevet, Laurent & Mattes, Kyle, . "Nomination processes and policy outcomes," Working Papers 1250, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  2. César Martinelli, 2002. "Simple plurality versus plurality runoff with privately informed voters," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 19(4), pages 901-919.
  3. Pablo Amorós & M. Socorro Puy & Ricardo Martínez, 2014. "The Closed Primaries versus the Top-two Primary," Working Papers 2014-02, Universidad de Málaga, Department of Economic Theory, Málaga Economic Theory Research Center.
  4. 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).
  5. Laurent Bouton, 2012. "A Theory of Strategic Voting in Runoff Elections," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2012-001, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  6. Hirano, Shigeo & Snyder, James M. & Ansolabehere, Stephen & Hansen, John Mark, 2010. "Primary Elections and Partisan Polarization in the U.S. Congress," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 5(2), pages 169-191, August.
  7. Bag, Parimal Kanti & Sabourian, Hamid & Winter, Eyal, 2009. "Multi-stage voting, sequential elimination and Condorcet consistency," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(3), pages 1278-1299, May.
  8. Hummel, Patrick, 2013. "Candidate strategies in primaries and general elections with candidates of heterogeneous quality," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 85-102.
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