The Convergence Coefficient Across Political Systems
39 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2013
Date Written: November 2, 2013
Formal work on the electoral model often suggests that parties or candidates should locate themselves at the electoral mean. Recent research has found no evidence of such convergence. In order to explain non-convergence, the stochastic electoral model is extended by including estimates of electoral valence. We introduce the notion of a convergence coefficient, c. It has been shown that high values of c imply that there is a significant centrifugal tendency acting on parties. We used electoral surveys to construct a stochastic valence model of the the elections in various countries.
We find that the convergence coefficient varies across elections in a country, across countries with similar regimes and across political regimes. In some countries, the centripetal tendency leads parties to converge to the electoral mean. In others the centrifugal tendency dominates and some parties locate far from the electoral mean. In particular, for countries with proportional electoral systems, namely Israel, Turkey and Poland, the centrifugal tendency is very high. In the majoritarian polities of the United States and Great Britain, where the centrifugal tendency is very low. In anocracies, the autocrat imposes limitations on how far from the origin the opposition parties can move.
Keywords: stochastic vote model, valence, local Nash equilibrium, convergence coefficient, the heart
JEL Classification: H10
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