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Cycles in Public Opinion and the Dynamics of Stable Party Systems

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  • Sandro Brusco
  • Jaideep Roy

Abstract

We study a dynamic model of elections where many parties may enter or exit political competition. At each election a new political leadership arrives for each party. The leadership cannot choose the party's platform (ideological identities are fixed) but must decide whether or not to contest the election. Contesting elections is costly and this cost is higher if the party has recently been inactive. The distribution of voters' ideal policies, or public opinion, changes over time via a Markov process with a state independent persistence parameter. We characterise stable party systems where the set of contestants is invariant to the recent most observed opinion. We show that stable party systems exist only when public opinion is sufficiently volatile, while highly persistent moods lead to instability and change in the party system whenever public opinion changes.
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Suggested Citation

  • Sandro Brusco & Jaideep Roy, 2015. "Cycles in Public Opinion and the Dynamics of Stable Party Systems," Department of Economics Working Papers 15-04, Stony Brook University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:nys:sunysb:15-04
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    File URL: http://www.stonybrook.edu/commcms/economics/research/papers/2015/DynPartySys.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Sandro Brusco & Jaideep Roy, 2011. "Aggregate uncertainty in the citizen candidate model yields extremist parties," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 36(1), pages 83-104, January.
    2. Jean Guillaume Forand & John Duggan, 2013. "Markovian Elections," Working Papers 1305, University of Waterloo, Department of Economics, revised Oct 2013.
    3. Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate, 1997. "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, pages 85-114.
    4. Budge, Ian, 1994. "A New Spatial Theory of Party Competition: Uncertainty, Ideology and Policy Equilibria Viewed Comparatively and Temporally," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, pages 443-467.
    5. David Byers & James Davidson & David Peel, 1997. "Modelling Political Popularity: an Analysis of Long-range Dependence in Opinion Poll Series," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 160(3), pages 471-490.
    6. Martin J. Osborne & Al Slivinksi, 1995. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," Department of Economics Working Papers 1995-01, McMaster University.
    7. repec:cup:apsrev:v:81:y:1987:i:02:p:525-537_19 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Adams, James & Clark, Michael & Ezrow, Lawrence & Glasgow, Garrett, 2004. "Understanding Change and Stability in Party Ideologies: Do Parties Respond to Public Opinion or to Past Election Results?," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, pages 589-610.
    9. repec:cup:apsrev:v:102:y:2008:i:01:p:1-17_08 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Martin J. Osborne & Al Slivinski, 1996. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, pages 65-96.
    11. John Duggan & Cesar Martinelli, 2015. "The Political Economy of Dynamic Elections: A Survey and Some New Results," Working Papers 1056, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science.
    12. Thomas R. Palfrey, 1984. "Spatial Equilibrium with Entry," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(1), pages 139-156.
    13. C├ęsar Martinelli & John Duggan, 2014. "The Political Economy of Dynamic Elections: A Survey and Some New Results," Working Papers 1403, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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