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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 Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse in its series IDEI Working Papers with number 450.

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Date of creation: Apr 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in The Economic Journal, vol.�119, n°540, octobre 2009, p.�1303-1323.
Handle: RePEc:ide:wpaper:6943
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  1. Ray, Debraj & Vohra, Rajiv, 1997. "Equilibrium Binding Agreements," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 30-78, March.
  2. John E. Roemer & Karen Van der Straeten, 2004. "Xenophobia and Distribution in France: A Politico-economic Analysis," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1478, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  3. Edward L. Glaeser, 2002. "The Political Economy of Hatred," NBER Working Papers 9171, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Gilat Levy, 2004. "A model of political parties," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 540, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  5. Massimo Morelli, 2004. "Party Formation and Policy Outcomes under Different Electoral Systems," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71, pages 829-853, 07.
  6. 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.
  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. Austen-Smith, David & Wallerstein, Michael, 2006. "Redistribution and affirmative action," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(10-11), pages 1789-1823, November.
  9. Fernández, Raquel & Levy, Gilat, 2008. "Diversity and redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 925-943, June.
  10. Esteban, J. & Ray, D., 1993. "On the Measurement of Polarization," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 221.93, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  11. 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.
  12. John E. Roemer & Karine Van der Straeten, 2006. "The Political Economy of Xenophobia and Distribution: The Case of Denmark," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 108(2), pages 251-277, 07.
  13. Osborne, Martin J & Slivinski, Al, 1996. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(1), pages 65-96, February.
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