You Can Go Your Own Way: Explaining Partisan Support for Independence

University of Oxford Department of Economics Working Paper No. 717

22 Pages Posted: 10 Aug 2014

See all articles by Tim Willems

Tim Willems

University of Oxford - Nuffield Department of Medicine

Date Written: August 4, 2014

Abstract

This paper analyzes secessions through the lens of representative democratic institutions and considers the incentives of partisan political parties to support independence movements. It points out that, if anything, separatists should expect to receive support from exactly the "unlike-minded" political party - the reason being that this party might see a break-up as an opportunity to reshape the electorate towards its own preferences. By doing so, a party could increase its future probability of being elected, while it is also able to shift the entire political spectrum towards its own partisan ideal. The model is able to explain much of what is currently going on in the debate on Scottish independence, while it can also be applied to issues of political integration (the European Union) and territorial conflicts (think of Ukraine and Russia in relation to Crimea, as well as the situation in Israel).

Keywords: Nations, Secession, Territorial conflict, Probabilistic voting

JEL Classification: D72, H77

Suggested Citation

Willems, Tim, You Can Go Your Own Way: Explaining Partisan Support for Independence (August 4, 2014). University of Oxford Department of Economics Working Paper No. 717, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2478012 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2478012

Tim Willems (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Nuffield Department of Medicine ( email )

New Road
Oxford, OX1 1NF
United Kingdom

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