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Electoral Poaching and Party Identification

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  • Kovenock, Dan
  • Robertson, Brian

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Kovenock, Dan & Robertson, Brian, 2005. "Electoral Poaching and Party Identification," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1178, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:pur:prukra:1178
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    12. Aless & ro Lizzeri & Nicola Persico, "undated". "The Drawbacks of Electoral Competition," Penn CARESS Working Papers db8edf1dce2468924aca9e501, Penn Economics Department.
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    1. repec:eee:mateco:v:71:y:2017:i:c:p:49-62 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Subhasish M. Chowdhury & Dan Kovenock & David Rojo Arjona & Nathaniel T. Wilcox, 2016. "Focality and asymmetry in multi-battle contests," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 16-12, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
    3. Kovenock, Dan & Roberson, Brian, 2011. "Non-partisan ‘get-out-the-vote’ efforts and policy outcomes," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 728-739.
    4. Crutzen, Benoît S.Y. & Sahuguet, Nicolas, 2009. "Redistributive politics with distortionary taxation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(1), pages 264-279, January.
    5. Dan J. Kovenock & Brian Roberson, 2015. "Generalizations of the General Lotto and Colonel Blotto Games," CESifo Working Paper Series 5291, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. Dan Kovenock & Brian Roberson, 2009. "Is the 50-State Strategy Optimal?," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 21(2), pages 213-236, April.
    7. Boyer, Pierre C. & Konrad, Kai A. & Roberson, Brian, 2017. "Targeted campaign competition, loyal voters, and supermajorities," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 49-62.
    8. Dan Kovenock & Brian Roberson, 2009. "Inefficient redistribution and inefficient redistributive politics," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 139(3), pages 263-272, June.

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