Strategic Extremism: Why Republicans and Democrats Divide on Religious Values
Party platforms differ sharply from one another, especially on issues with religious content, such as abortion or gay marriage. Religious extremism in the U. S. appears to be strategically targeted to win elections, since party platforms diverge significantly, while policy outcomes like abortion rates are not affected by changes in the governing party. Given the high returns from attracting the median voter, why do vote-maximizing politicians veer off into extremism? In this paper, we find that strategic extremism depends on an important intensive margin where politicians want to induce their core constituents to vote (or make donations) and the ability to target political messages towards those core constituents. Our model predicts that the political relevance of religious issues is highest when around one-half of the voting population attends church regularly. Using data from across the world and within the U. S. , we indeed find a nonmonotonic relationship between religious extremism and religious attendance.
|Date of creation:||2004|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: 200 Littauer Center, Cambridge, MA 02138|
Web page: http://www.economics.harvard.edu/journals/hier
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- Gary S. Becker, 1983. "A Theory of Competition Among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(3), pages 371-400.
- Irmen, Andreas & Thisse, Jacques-Francois, 1998.
"Competition in Multi-characteristics Spaces: Hotelling Was Almost Right,"
Journal of Economic Theory,
Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 76-102, January.
- Andreas IRMEN & Jean-François THISSE, 1996. "Competition in Multi-Characteristics Spaces: Hotelling Was Almost Right," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 9613, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
- IRMEN, Andreas & THISSE, Jacques-Francois, 1997. "Competition in multi-characteristics spaces: hotelling was almost right," CORE Discussion Papers 1997053, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
- Irmen, A. & Thisse, J.-F., . "Competition in multi-characteristics spaces: Hotelling was almost right," CORE Discussion Papers RP 1305, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
- Irmen, Andreas & Thisse, Jacques-François, 1996. "Competition in Multi-characteristics Spaces: Hotelling was Almost Right," CEPR Discussion Papers 1446, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Richard B. Freeman, 1998.
"Spurts in Union Growth: Defining Moments and Social Processes,"
in: The Defining Moment: The Great Depression and the American Economy in the Twentieth Century, pages 265-296
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Richard B. Freeman, 1997. "Spurts in Union Growth: Defining Moments and Social Processes," NBER Working Papers 6012, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- David Blanchflower, 1996. "The Role and Influence of Trade Unions in the OECD," CEP Discussion Papers dp0310, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
- Kevin Murphy & Andrei Shleifer, 2004.
"Persuasion in Politics,"
NBER Working Papers
10248, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- Dixit, Avinash K & Londregan, John, 1994. "Redistributive Politics and Economic Efficiency," CEPR Discussion Papers 1056, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Michael D. Bordo & Claudia Goldin & Eugene N. White, 1998. "The Defining Moment: The Great Depression and the American Economy in the Twentieth Century," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bord98-1.
- Barry T. Hirsch & David A. MacPherson, 2003. "Union Membership and Coverage Database from the Current Population Survey: Note," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(2), pages 349-354, January.
- Sendhil Mullainathan & Andrei Shleifer, 2005.
"The Market for News,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1031-1053, September.
- Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fth:harver:2044. 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: (Thomas Krichel)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.