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Leaders, Factions and Electoral Success


  • Benoit S Y Crutzen

    (Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam)

  • Sabine Flamand

    (Universitat Rovira I Virgili)


We develop a formal model of the internal game between the leader and the factions of a party, to study the effect of party leadership on electoral success. Factions are of interest or of principle. The probability of winning an election is increasing in the leader's charisma, but also in party unity and coherence and in the factions' total contributions to party work and electoral efforts. To push factions to contribute, the leader offers both types of factions their favorite rewards in exchange for their contributions. We show that party unity and factions' total contributions are not necessarily increasing in the leader's charisma and ideological proximity to factions. Further, we show that factions of interest constraint the party's electoral strategy less than factions of principle. In particular, factions of interest always contribute more than factions of principle, are less of an obstacle towards achieving party unity, and offer the party more freedom in its choice of the ideological location and charisma of the party leader.

Suggested Citation

  • Benoit S Y Crutzen & Sabine Flamand, 2021. "Leaders, Factions and Electoral Success," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 21-041/VII, Tinbergen Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:tin:wpaper:20210041

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    1. Norman Schofield & Christopher Claassen & Ugur Ozdemir & Alexei Zakharov, 2011. "Estimating the effects of activists in two-party and multi-party systems: comparing the United States and Israel," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 36(3), pages 483-518, April.
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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
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games

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