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Radical Moderation: Recapturing Power in Two-party Parliamentary Systems



We estimate the parameters of a reputational game of political competition using data from five two-party parliamentary systems. We find that latent party preferences (and party reputations) persist with high probability across election periods, with one exception: parties with extreme preferences who find themselves out of power switch to moderation with higher probability than the equivalent estimated likelihood for parties in government (extreme or moderate) or for moderate parties in opposition. We find evidence for the presence of significant country-specific differences. Notably, we estimate that in the long-term, Australia is less than half as likely to experience extreme policies and Australian governments enjoy significantly longer spells in office as compared to their counterparts in Greece, Malta, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. The model outperforms alternative naive models on a battery of goodness-of-fit tests.

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  • Tasos Kalandrakis & Arthur Spirling, 2009. "Radical Moderation: Recapturing Power in Two-party Parliamentary Systems," Wallis Working Papers WP61, University of Rochester - Wallis Institute of Political Economy.
  • Handle: RePEc:roc:wallis:wp61

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Merlo, Antonio, 1997. "Bargaining over Governments in a Stochastic Environment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 101-131, February.
    2. repec:cup:apsrev:v:93:y:1999:i:02:p:279-297_21 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Daniel Diermeier & Michael Keane & Antonio Merlo, 2005. "A Political Economy Model of Congressional Careers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 347-373, March.
    4. Daniel Diermeier & Hulya Eraslan & Antonio Merlo, 2003. "A Structural Model of Government Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(1), pages 27-70, January.
    5. Kalandrakis, Tasos, 2009. "A Reputational Theory of Two-Party Competition," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 4(4), pages 343-378, December.
    6. 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, vol. 24(04), pages 443-467, October.
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