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

Party Polarization and Electoral Accountability

  • Cecilia Testa

In this paper we model the interaction between parties and candidates to highlight the mechanisms by which parties selecting candidates may discipline legislators. Parties are long-lived institutions providing incentives to short-lived candidates. Citizens have preferences over a multimentional policy space comprising an ideological and a monetary dimension. Candidates are policy motivated on the ideological dimension only and have opposing interest with respect to citizens on the monetary dimension. Policy motivation implies that candidates care more about winning elections the bigger the ideological distance from the candidate of the opponent party. Therefore, parties can use strategically polarization to provide incentives to candidates. Because of this strategic use, the polarization of the political race may diverge from the polarization of voters' preferences. In general, the polarization of the political race is a compromise between policy preferences of party members and electoral goals. Finally, when parties converge to the median voter, electoral accountability is inevitably compromised

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:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Econometric Society in its series Econometric Society 2004 Latin American Meetings with number 130.

in new window

Date of creation: 11 Aug 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ecm:latm04:130
Contact details of provider: Phone: 1 212 998 3820
Fax: 1 212 995 4487
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. Palfrey, Thomas R, 1984. "Spatial Equilibrium with Entry," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(1), pages 139-56, January.
  2. Poole, Keith T. & Rosenthal, Howard, 1996. "Are legislators ideologues or the agents of constituents?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 707-717, April.
  3. Alesina, Alberto, 1988. "Credibility and Policy Convergence in a Two-Party System with Rational Voters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 796-805, September.
  4. Harrington, Joseph Jr., 1992. "The role of party reputation in the formation of policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 107-121, October.
  5. Caillaud, B. & Tirole, J., 1999. "Party governance and ideological bias," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 779-789, April.
  6. Torsten Persson & Gerard Roland & Guido Tabellini, . "Separation of Powers and Political Accountability," Working Papers 100, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  7. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:114:y:1999:i:4:p:1243-1284 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Alberto Alesina & Stephen E. Spear, 1987. "An Overlapping Generations Model of Electoral Competition," NBER Working Papers 2354, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. John Duggan, . "Repeated Elections with Asymmetric Information," Wallis Working Papers WP9, University of Rochester - Wallis Institute of Political Economy.
  10. Alesina, Alberto & Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William, 1999. "Public goods and ethnic divisions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2108, The World Bank.
  11. Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . ""An Economic Model of Representative Democracy''," CARESS Working Papres 95-02, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  12. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:117:y:2002:i:4:p:1453-1489 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Coate, Stephen & Morris, Stephen, 1995. "On the Form of Transfers in Special Interests," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1210-35, December.
  14. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:101:y:1986:i:1:p:33-49 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Banks, Jeffrey S. & Sundaram, Rangarajan K., 1998. "Optimal Retention in Agency Problems," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 293-323, October.
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:ecm:latm04:130. 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: (Christopher F. Baum)

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.