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Party formation in single-issue politics

  • Martin J. Osborne
  • Rabee Tourky

We study party formation in a general model of collective decision-making, modelling parties as agglomerations of policy positions championed by decision-makers. We show that in the presence of economies of party size and a one-dimensional policy space, players agglomerate into exactly two parties. This result does not depend on the magnitude of the economies of party size or sensitively on the nature of the individuals' preferences. Our analysis encompasses several models, including decision-making in committees with costly participation and representative democracy in which the legislature is elected by citizens, for a wide range of electoral systems including plurality voting and proportional representation. The result implies that a multiplicity of parties hinges on the presence of more than one significant political issue or of diseconomies of party size.

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File URL: http://www.economics.utoronto.ca/public/workingPapers/tecipa-174-1.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Toronto, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number tecipa-174.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: 11 Mar 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-174
Contact details of provider: Postal: 150 St. George Street, Toronto, Ontario
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  1. Nicolaus Tideman, 1995. "The Single Transferable Vote," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 27-38, Winter.
  2. Martin Osborne & Jeffry Rosenthal & Matthew A. Turner, 1998. "Meetings with costly participation," Working Papers mturner-98-02, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  3. Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," Penn CARESS Working Papers ecf70d639d700dba5327ab0c8, Penn Economics Department.
  4. Gilat Levy, 2004. "A model of political parties," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 540, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  5. Osborne, Martin J & Slivinski, Al, 1996. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(1), pages 65-96, February.
  6. Ignacio Ortuno-Ortin & Anke Gerber, 1998. "Political compromise and endogenous formation of coalitions," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 445-454.
  7. Jackson, Matthew O. & Moselle, Boaz, 2002. "Coalition and Party Formation in a Legislative Voting Game," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 49-87, March.
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