Electoral Poaching and Party Identification
WZB-Markets and Political Economy Working Paper No. SP II 2005-17
37 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2005
Date Written: October 2005
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: Suggested Citation