The Only Player in Town: A Formal Explanation of the Maintenance and Erosion of the Unity of a Dominant Party's Elite
43 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2011 Last revised: 28 Feb 2012
Date Written: 2011
This paper proposes a sequential game between two party factions -- the ruling and minority factions - to analyze under which circumstances the leaders of an authoritarian dominant party might prefer to remain united, when will they opt to defect or expel other factions from the party, and what might be the consequences of this process. The model confirms that a dominant party is likely to remain united when all its factions receive a high absolute payoff, as has been already proposed by Geddes. However, the game reveals that this same result might take place even if the minority faction receives a low absolute payoff, largely because the ruling faction can decrease the former's chances of improving its payoff in other parties through the use of repression. Given this distinction, two concrete causal mechanisms are derived from the model to explain why the minority faction might leave the dominant party, and when this might happen. The game also reveals why different types of defections might affect in distinct ways the prospects of survival of a dominant party.
Keywords: authoritarian regimes, single-party regimes, dominant-party regimes, transition
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