Cycles in Public Opinion and the Dynamics of Stable Party Systems

34 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2015

See all articles by Sandro Brusco

Sandro Brusco

SUNY at Stony Brook University, College of Arts and Science, Department of Economics

Jaideep Roy

Deakin University - Department of Economics

Date Written: October 1, 2015

Abstract

We study a dynamic model of elections where many parties may enter or exit political competition. At each election a new political leadership arrives for each party. The leadership cannot choose the party's platform (ideological identities are fixed) but must decide whether or not to contest the election. Contesting elections is costly and this cost is higher if the party has recently been inactive. The distribution of voters ideal policies, or public opinion, changes over time via a Markov process with a state independent persistence parameter. We characterise stable party systems where the set of contestants is invariant to the recent most observed opinion. We show that stable party systems exist only when public opinion is sufficiently volatile, while highly persistent moods lead to instability and change in the party system whenever public opinion changes.

Keywords: Public Opinion, Aggregate Uncertainty, Party Systems

JEL Classification: D72

Suggested Citation

Brusco, Sandro and Roy, Jaideep, Cycles in Public Opinion and the Dynamics of Stable Party Systems (October 1, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2668257 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2668257

Sandro Brusco (Contact Author)

SUNY at Stony Brook University, College of Arts and Science, Department of Economics ( email )

Stony Brook, NY 11794
United States

Jaideep Roy

Deakin University - Department of Economics ( email )

Australia

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