Electoral Competition and Factional Sabotage
49 Pages Posted: 16 Feb 2019 Last revised: 15 Nov 2019
Date Written: March 26, 2019
Intra-party sabotage is widespread and can be detrimental to political parties. This paper examines the interaction between party leadership and factions in a probabilistic model of elections, where the occurrence of sabotage is driven by both intra-party and inter-party competition. Factions can devote their campaign resources to either promote the party or to undermine other factions. Leaders decide how to redistribute electoral spoils among factions in form of prizes, based on an imperfect indicator of factions’ resource allocation. Results show that intra-party and inter-party competition are substitutes: in majoritarian democracies factions sabotage less than in consensus democracies. Anticipating factional incentives, the party leadership tends to choose prizes that reward factions’ effort toward promoting the party. Surprisingly, when factions in the same party have different ideological preferences, in equilibrium the leadership can encourage sabotage to increase the party chances at the poll. By identifying the conditions under which intra-party sabotage is more likely to occur, the model suggests when political scandals could emerge from within the party and how the leadership could react to them.
Keywords: Factions, Party Organization, Electoral Competition, Sabotage
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