Attract voters or appease activists? Opposition partiesâ€™ dilemma and party policy change
Journal of Theoretical Politics, 2018, vol. 30, issue 2, 246-266
Why do mainstream opposition parties sometimes fail to adopt policy positions that are attractive to the wider electorate? In this paper, I construct a game-theoretic model between the party leader, the partyâ€™s MPs, and the party organization to illustrate how opposition partiesâ€™ platform adjustments depend on the party leaderâ€™s risk assessment of being deposed and MPsâ€™ re-election incentives. The model predicts that a party leader is most likely to adhere to the activistsâ€™ position when MPsâ€™ re-election probabilities depend greatly on activistsâ€™ campaign effort, and when MPsâ€™ benefits of re-election are high. Platform adjustments are only possible when the reverse is true. These results have important implications on electoral competitiveness and strategies of parties in majoritarian versus proportional electoral systems. Namely, I expect that opposition parties in majoritarian systems are less able to adjust their platforms than those in proportional systems.
Keywords: electoral systems; intraparty politics; MPsâ€™ re-elections; party leaders and party activists; platform adjustments (search for similar items in EconPapers)
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:sae:jothpo:v:30:y:2018:i:2:p:246-266
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