Primary Election Systems and Candidate Deviation

Eastern Economic Journal, Vol. 30, No. 3, pp. 365-376, Summer 2004

12 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2011

See all articles by Christopher Westley

Christopher Westley

Florida Gulf Coast University

Peter Calcagno

College of Charleston - Department of Economics and Finance

Richard Ault

Auburn University

Date Written: July 9, 2004

Abstract

A significant set of the public-choice literature considers the relationship between primary types and the resulting ideology of the winning candidate in primary and general elections. Research by Buel and Jackson [1991], for instance, suggests that primary voters with ideologically extreme views are more likely to participate in political activities than other voters. Gerber and Morton [1998] argue that the relevant median voter in closed primaries is more extreme than the median voter in general elections and that this difference is less pronounced in states with open or blanket primaries. In this paper, we build upon Gerber and Morton [1998] by adding a new measure of deviation from the median voter that explains why politicians may prefer one primary type to another. We suggest that institutional arrangements such as primary types, in addition to logrolling and signaling, may account for candidate deviation from the median voter. In the process, we re-evaluate this principal-agent relationship with a focus on the role of agent deviation under different primary types.

Keywords: Public Choice, Voting Models, Ideology

JEL Classification: D72

Suggested Citation

Westley, Christopher and Calcagno, Peter and Ault, Richard, Primary Election Systems and Candidate Deviation (July 9, 2004). Eastern Economic Journal, Vol. 30, No. 3, pp. 365-376, Summer 2004 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1925144

Christopher Westley (Contact Author)

Florida Gulf Coast University ( email )

Ft. Myers, FL 33965-6565
United States

Peter Calcagno

College of Charleston - Department of Economics and Finance ( email )

66 George Street
Charleston, SC 29424
United States

Richard Ault

Auburn University ( email )

415 West Magnolia Avenue
Auburn, AL 36849
United States

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