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An Overlapping Generations Model of Electoral Competition

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  • Alberto Alesina
  • Stephen E. Spear

Abstract

This paper presents a dynamic model of political competition between two "parties" with different policy preferences. A "party" is explicitly modeled as a sequence of overlapping generations of candidates, all of whom face finite decision horizons. In general, there is a conflict between the interests of the individual policymakers and those of the "party" , which includes subsequent generations of candidates. We characterize this conflict and suggest a scheme of "intergenerational transfers" within the party which can resolve or mitigate this conflict. The paper shows how the "overlapping generations" model can be usefully applied to the political arena.

Suggested Citation

  • Alberto Alesina & Stephen E. Spear, 1987. "An Overlapping Generations Model of Electoral Competition," NBER Working Papers 2354, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2354 Note: ME
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    1. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
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    6. Alberto Alesina, 1987. "Macroeconomic Policy in a Two-Party System as a Repeated Game," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(3), pages 651-678.
    7. John Lott & W. Reed, 1989. "Shirking and sorting in a political market with finite-lived politicians," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 61(1), pages 75-96, April.
    8. Hinich, Melvin J. & Ledyard, John O. & Ordeshook, Peter C., 1972. "Nonvoting and the existence of equilibrium under majority rule," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 144-153, April.
    9. John Ledyard, 1984. "The pure theory of large two-candidate elections," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 44(1), pages 7-41, January.
    10. Jacques Cremer, 1986. "Cooperation in Ongoing Organizations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(1), pages 33-49.
    11. Alesina, Alberto & Tabellini, Guido, 1988. "Credibility and politics," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(2-3), pages 542-550, March.
    12. Friedman, James W., 1985. "Cooperative equilibria in finite horizon noncooperative supergames," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 390-398, August.
    13. Wittman, Donald, 1977. "Candidates with policy preferences: A dynamic model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 180-189, February.
    14. Benoit, Jean-Pierre & Krishna, Vijay, 1985. "Finitely Repeated Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(4), pages 905-922, July.
    15. repec:cup:apsrev:v:80:y:1986:i:03:p:881-899_18 is not listed on IDEAS
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