A Downsian Model of Candidate Platform Divergence in Election Interventions
62 Pages Posted: 11 Dec 2020 Last revised: 10 Apr 2021
Date Written: October 25, 2020
A necessary condition for foreign election interventions is for local candidates to disagree on issues of importance to the intervening powers. The origins of policy polarization in candidates' position has not been studied. We propose an explanation for the presence of disagreement between candidates that is endogenous to the intervention itself. Namely, we develop a (Downsian) formal model to show that, under certain conditions, the availability of foreign support will create divergent policy positions even where candidates have no special ideological or other attachment to the foreign power or powers, and where voters’ preferences are single-peaked (and so do not justify divergent candidate positioning). We tie the emergence and degree of polarization to the presence of multiple interveners, to the existence of restrictions on foreign financing to the opposition and to the manner in which foreign help is allocated - via private or public goods. Our results have implications for why election interventions are more common in non-consolidated democracies, and for what kind of policies are more likely to deter interveners.
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