Endogenous Candidacy in Plurality Rule Elections: Some Explanations of the Number of Candidates and their Polarization
37 Pages Posted: 18 Dec 2015 Last revised: 25 Oct 2016
Date Written: October 24, 2016
This paper surveys the literature that uses endogenous candidacy models of electoral competition to explain the number of candidates and the extent of their polarization in elections held under the plurality rule. The plurality rule is the voting rule under which each voter votes for one candidate, and the candidate who gets the most votes is elected. We organize the different contributions to this literature into three families based on candidates' motivation to contest the election and on which part of the candidate set is endogenous. We argue that endogenous candidacy models offer both theoretical and empirical advantages over the standard Hotelling-Downs model. On the theoretical front, these models can provide a more satisfactory microfoundation for the emergence and/or stability of a two-party system under plurality rule. On the empirical front these models offer a better account of the stylized facts regarding the number of candidates and their polarization. We also point to shortcomings of these models and propose some directions for future research.
Keywords: Hotelling-Downs model, Endogenous Candidacy, Entry deterrence, Citizen-candidate model, Plurality rule, Polarization, Duverger's law
JEL Classification: C72, D72, H11
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