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Two-Party Competition with Persistent Policies

Jean Guillaume Forand

No 1011, Working Papers from University of Waterloo, Department of Economics

Abstract: This paper studies the Markov perfect equilibrium outcomes of a dynamic game of electoral competition between two policy-motivated parties. I model incumbent policy persistence: parties commit to implement a policy for their full tenure in office, and hence in any election only the opposition party renews its platform. In equilibrium, parties alternate in power and policies converge to symmetric alternations about the median voter's ideal policy. Parties' disutility from opponents' policies leads to alterna- tions that display bounded extremism; alternations far from the median are never limits of equilibrium dynamics. Under a natural restriction on strategies, I find that robust long-run outcomes display bounded moderation; alternations close to the median are reached in equilibrium only if policy dynamics start there. I show that these results are robust to voters being forward-looking, the introduction of term limits, costly policy adjustments for incumbents, and office benefits.

JEL-codes: C73 D72 D78 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 65 pages
Date: 2010-11, Revised 2010-11
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm, nep-gth and nep-pol
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (15)

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