Rocky Marriage: A Theory of Presidents and Their Parties

46 Pages Posted: 23 Nov 2011

See all articles by Vidal Romero

Vidal Romero

Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM)

Date Written: December 10, 2007


Institutional settings place executives and their parties in a tense relation of dependence and confrontation. These two actors need one another to achieve their goals; however, divergent interests and commitment problems make collaboration problematic. Under which circumstances should we expect presidents to get their parties’ support to modify the status quo? At this moment, we lack a theory explaining how these actors are interrelated. To help to fill this gap, I develop a game-theoretic framework that explains when and how presidents are able to get their parties’ cooperation. Parties’ support of their presidents is a function of presidential capacity to credibly commit to compensating, the expected electoral return of executives’ actions, and parties’ capability to credibly threaten their presidents should they not reciprocate. I illustrate the game equilibria with brief analytical narratives of Latin American presidents and their parties.

Keywords: Presidential decision-making, political-parties, Latin America

Suggested Citation

Romero, Vidal, Rocky Marriage: A Theory of Presidents and Their Parties (December 10, 2007). Available at SSRN: or

Vidal Romero (Contact Author)

Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) ( email )

Av. Camino a Sta. Teresa 930
Col. Héroes de Padierna
Mexico City, D.F. 01000, Federal District 01080

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