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Electoral Poaching and Party Identification

  • Kovenock, Dan
  • Robertson, Brian

This paper studies electoral competition in a model of redistributive politics with deterministic voting and heterogeneous voter loyalties to political parties. We construct a natural measure of “party strength” based on the sizes and intensities of a party’s loyal voter segments and demonstrate how party behavior varies with the two parties’ strengths. In equilibrium, parties target or “poach” a strict subset of the opposition party’s loyal voters: offering those voters a high expected transfer, while “freezing out” the remainder with a zero transfer. The size of the subset of opposition voters frozen out and consequently, the level of inequality in utilities generated by a party’s equilibrium redistribution schedule is increasing in the opposition party’s strength. We also construct a measure of “political polarization” that is increasing in the sum and symmetry of the parties’ strengths, and find that the expected ex-post inequality in utilities of the implemented policy is increasing in the political polarization.

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Paper provided by Purdue University, Department of Economics in its series Purdue University Economics Working Papers with number 1178.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pur:prukra:1178
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Web page: http://www.krannert.purdue.edu/programs/phd

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  1. Kovenock, D. & de Vries, C.G., 1995. "The All-Pay Auction with Complete Information," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 311.95, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  2. A. Lizzeri & N. Persico, 2000. "The Drawbacks of Electoral Competition," Princeton Economic Theory Papers 00s14, Economics Department, Princeton University.
  3. Esteban, J.M. & Ray, D., 1992. "On the Measurement of Polarization," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 171.92, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  4. Nicolas Sahuguet & Nicola Persico, 2006. "Campaign spending regulation in a model of redistributive politics," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 95-124, 05.
  5. Alessandro Lizzeri & Nicola Persico, . ""The Provision of Public Goods Under Alternative Electoral Incentives''," CARESS Working Papres 98-08, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  6. Laslier, Jean-Francois & Picard, Nathalie, 2002. "Distributive Politics and Electoral Competition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 106-130, March.
  7. repec:dgr:kubcen:199051 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
  9. Wang, You-Qiang & Tsui, Kai-Yuen, 2000. " Polarization Orderings and New Classes of Polarization Indices," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 2(3), pages 349-63.
  10. Lizzeri, Alessandro, 1999. "Budget Deficits and Redistributive Politics," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(4), pages 909-28, October.
  11. Gene Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1994. "Electoral Competition and Special Interest Politics," NBER Working Papers 4877, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Lien, Da-Hsiang Donald, 1990. "Corruption and allocation efficiency," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 153-164, July.
  13. Juan G. Rodríguez & Rafael Salas, . "Extended Bi-Polarization And Inequality Measures," Working Papers 10-03 Classification-JEL , Instituto de Estudios Fiscales.
  14. Judd, Kenneth L., 1985. "The law of large numbers with a continuum of IID random variables," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 19-25, February.
  15. Clark, Derek J. & Riis, Christian, 2000. "Allocation efficiency in a competitive bribery game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 109-124, May.
  16. A. Lizzeri & Persico N., 1999. "Provision of Public Goods Under Alternative Electral Incentives," Princeton Economic Theory Papers 99f4, Economics Department, Princeton University.
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