Bending the Iron Law

67 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2019 Last revised: 23 Sep 2023

See all articles by Giovanna Maria Invernizzi

Giovanna Maria Invernizzi

Columbia University - Department of Political Science

Carlo Prato

Columbia University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: September 22, 2019

Abstract

How do political parties share power internally? We study the internal organization of political parties as the solution of a moral hazard problem between a party conference and its factions. Factions' mobilization efforts benefit the party electorally, but can only be imperfectly monitored. In contrast with the logic of Michel's Iron Law, we provide a functionalist rationale for intra-party power sharing: we show that internal power sharing can enhance a party's electoral performance. This effect is stronger in settings that award more resources to election winners: low inter-party power sharing produces high intra-party power sharing. We also show that intra-party power sharing should be more frequent within smaller parties, when monitoring of factional effort is more precise (e.g., preferential voting systems), and when factions' ideological disagreements span multiple dimensions.

Keywords: Power Sharing, Party Organization, Political Contests

JEL Classification: D02, D72

Suggested Citation

Invernizzi, Giovanna Maria and Prato, Carlo, Bending the Iron Law (September 22, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3462071 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3462071

Giovanna Maria Invernizzi

Columbia University - Department of Political Science ( email )

New York, NY
United States

Carlo Prato (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Department of Political Science ( email )

7th Floor, International Affairs Bldg.
420 W. 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States

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