On the Role of the Primary System in Candidate Selection

22 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2006

See all articles by Mandar P. OAK

Mandar P. OAK

Williams College - Department of Economics


How does the type of the primary system affect political outcomes? We address this issue by constructing a simple model that accounts for intra-party as well as inter-party political competition. Our model suggests that allowing non-partisan voters to participate in the primaries (i.e. a semi-open primary system) indeed improves the chances of a moderate candidate getting elected. However, this need not necessarily happen in the case of a completely open primary system. Under such a system there arise multiple equilibria, some of which may lead to a greater degree of extremism than the closed primary system. Thus, our model contributes to the current debate on the choice of primary systems from an analytical perspective and helps explain some of the empirical findings.

Suggested Citation

Oak, Mandar P., On the Role of the Primary System in Candidate Selection. Economics & Politics, Vol. 18, No. 2, pp. 169-190, July 2006, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=909634 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0343.2006.00167.x

Mandar P. Oak (Contact Author)

Williams College - Department of Economics ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.williams.edu/Economics/oak/cv.htm

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