Choosing a Champion: Party Membership and Policy Platform

49 Pages Posted: 25 May 2012

See all articles by Simon P. Anderson

Simon P. Anderson

University of Virginia - Department of Economics

Kieron Meagher

Australian National University (ANU)

Date Written: April 2012

Abstract

We introduce endogenous political parties into the Hotelling-Downs voting framework to model the selection of candidates. First, activists choose which party to join, if at all. Second, party members select a champion for the general election. Third, the electorate median voter determines the (stochastic) general election outcome. Although party members trade off win probabilities candidate location preferences, in equilibrium they vote sincerely, so champions are at party medians. Minimum differentiation is only attained when valence uncertainty vanishes. Otherwise, the electorate median voter is in neither party. Despite asymmetric party and policy positions in equilibrium, electoral successes remain roughly equal.

Keywords: activism, endogenous activism, political parties, spatial voting, valence

JEL Classification: D71, D72

Suggested Citation

Anderson, Simon P. and Meagher, Kieron, Choosing a Champion: Party Membership and Policy Platform (April 2012). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP8941, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2066314

Simon P. Anderson (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 400182
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4182
United States
804-924-3861 (Phone)
804-982-2904 (Fax)

Kieron Meagher

Australian National University (ANU) ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601
Australia

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