A Reputational Theory of Two Party Competition
We study a dynamic game of incomplete information in which two political parties contest elections with endogenously formed reputations regarding the preferences that prevail within each party. Party preferences exhibit serial correlation and change with higher probability following defeat in elections. We show that when partisans care sufficiently about office, extreme policies are pursued with positive probability by the government if the ruling party is perceived relatively more extreme than the opposition. In equilibrium such policies occur when (a) both parties are perceived to be more extreme than a fixed benchmark level, and (b) elections are close in that both parties have similar reputations. Two qualitatively different equilibrium dynamics are possible depending on the relative speed with which preferences of parties in government or in the opposition change: One produces regular government turnover and extreme policies along the path of play, another involves a strong incumbency advantage and policy moderation.
|Date of creation:||Jul 2008|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: University of Rochester, Wallis Institute, Harkness 109B Rochester, New York 14627 U.S.A.|
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- George J. Mailath & Larry Samuelson, 2001.
"Who Wants a Good Reputation?,"
Review of Economic Studies,
Oxford University Press, vol. 68(2), pages 415-441.
- George J. Mailath & Larry Samuelson, . "Who Wants a Good Reputation?," Penn CARESS Working Papers a3e3219aee004bd237f8112f9, Penn Economics Department.
- George J. Mailath & Larry Samuelson, . ""Who Wants a Good Reputation?''," CARESS Working Papres 98-12, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
- George J. Mailath & Larry Samuelson, 2000. "Who Wants a Good Reputation?," CARESS Working Papres sell-rep, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
- Mailath,G.J. & Samuelson,L., 1998. "Who wants a good reputation?," Working papers 19, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
- Kenneth Rogoff, 1987.
"Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles,"
NBER Working Papers
2428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Kenneth Rogoff & Anne Sibert, 1988.
"Elections and Macroeconomic Policy Cycles,"
Review of Economic Studies,
Oxford University Press, vol. 55(1), pages 1-16.
- Weingast, Barry R. & Wittman, Donald, 2008. "The Oxford Handbook of Political Economy," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199548477, June.
- John Roemer, 2003.
"The Democratic Political Economy Of Progressive Income Taxation,"
9711, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
- John E. Roemer, 1999. "The Democratic Political Economy of Progressive Income Taxation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(1), pages 1-20, January.
- John E. Roemer, 1997. "The Democratic Political Economy of Progressive Income Taxation," Discussion Papers 97-03, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
- John E. Roemer, . "The Democratic Political Economy Of Progressive Income Taxation," Department of Economics 97-11, California Davis - Department of Economics.
- John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
- Avinash Dixit & Gene M. Grossman & Faruk Gul, 2000. "The Dynamics of Political Compromise," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(3), pages 531-568, June.
- John Duggan, 2000.
"Repeated Elections with Asymmetric Information,"
Economics and Politics,
Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(2), pages 109-135, 07.
- Alesina, Alberto, 1988. "Credibility and Policy Convergence in a Two-Party System with Rational Voters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 796-805, September.
- John Duggan & Mark Fey, 2006. "Repeated Downsian electoral competition," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 35(1), pages 39-69, December.
- Bernhardt, Dan & Dubey, Sangita & Hughson, Eric, 2004. "Term limits and pork barrel politics," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(12), pages 2383-2422, December.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:roc:wallis:wp57. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Richard DiSalvo)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.