Electoral Poaching and Party Identification

WZB-Markets and Political Economy Working Paper No. SP II 2005-17

37 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2005  

Dan Kovenock

Chapman University - Economic Science Institute; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Brian Roberson

Purdue University - Department of Economics

Date Written: October 2005

Abstract

This paper studies electoral competition in a model of redistributive politics with deterministic voting and heterogeneous voter loyalties to political parties. We construct a natural measure of party strength based on the sizes and intensities of a party's loyal voter segments and demonstrate how party behavior varies with the two parties' strengths. In equilibrium, parties target or poach a strict subset of the opposition party's loyal voters: offering those voters a high expected transfer, while freezing out the remainder with a zero transfer. The size of the subset of opposition voters frozen out and, consequently, the level of inequality in utilities generated by a party's equilibrium redistribution schedule is increasing in the opposition party's strength. We also construct a measure of political polarization that is increasing in the sum and symmetry of the parties' strengths, and find that the expected ex-post inequality in utilities of the implemented policy is increasing in political polarization.

Keywords: redistributive politics, voting, elections, loyalty, polarization, all-pay auction

JEL Classification: C72, D72

Suggested Citation

Kovenock, Dan and Roberson, Brian, Electoral Poaching and Party Identification (October 2005). WZB-Markets and Political Economy Working Paper No. SP II 2005-17. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=868451 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.868451

Daniel Kovenock (Contact Author)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.CESifo.de

Chapman University - Economic Science Institute ( email )

One University Dr.
Orange, CA 92866
United States

Brian Roberson

Purdue University - Department of Economics ( email )

West Lafayette, IN 47907-1310
United States

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