Electoral Competition and Special Interest Politics
34 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2001 Last revised: 7 Apr 2010
Date Written: October 1994
We study the competition between two political parties for seats in a parliament. The parliament will set two types of policies: ideological and non-ideological. The parties have fixed positions on the ideological issues, but choose their non-ideological platforms to attract voters and campaign contributions. In this context, we ask: How do the equilibrium contributions from special interest groups influence the platforms of the parties? We show that each party is induced to behave as if it were maximizing a weighted sum of the aggregate welfares of informed voters and members of special interest groups. The party that is expected to win a majority of seats caters more to the special interests.
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