Political Competition

Overview

In this book, John Roemer presents a unified and rigorous theory of political competition between parties. He models the theory under many specifications, including whether parties are policy oriented or oriented toward winning, whether they are certain or uncertain about voter preferences, and whether the policy space is uni- or multidimensional. He examines all eight possible combinations of these choice assumptions, and characterizes their equilibria.

He fleshes out a model ...

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Overview

In this book, John Roemer presents a unified and rigorous theory of political competition between parties. He models the theory under many specifications, including whether parties are policy oriented or oriented toward winning, whether they are certain or uncertain about voter preferences, and whether the policy space is uni- or multidimensional. He examines all eight possible combinations of these choice assumptions, and characterizes their equilibria.

He fleshes out a model in which each party is composed of three different factions concerned with winning, with policy, and with publicity. Parties compete with one another. When internal bargaining is combined with external competition, a natural equilibrium emerges, which Roemer calls party-unanimity Nash equilibrium.

Assuming only the distribution of voter preferences and the endowments of the population, he deduces the nature of the parties that will form. He then applies the theory to several empirical puzzles, including income distribution, patterns of electoral success, and why there is no labor party in the United States.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice

Roemer characterizes—correctly—the traditional Downsian model of political competition as one modeling competition between "opportunistic politicians" who themselves have no policy preferences and who choose instead to adopt positions that appeal to the preferences of the optimum number of voters. This, he says, is a misguided model, easy to use but empirically and theoretically inaccurate and producing meaningless results. He offers instead a more complex model...based on "parties in conflict," which have real policy preferences. Well written...[A] fine contribution to the literature on spatial modeling.
— M. Berheide

Choice - M. Berheide
Roemer characterizes--correctly--the traditional Downsian model of political competition as one modeling competition between "opportunistic politicians" who themselves have no policy preferences and who choose instead to adopt positions that appeal to the preferences of the optimum number of voters. This, he says, is a misguided model, easy to use but empirically and theoretically inaccurate and producing meaningless results. He offers instead a more complex model...based on "parties in conflict," which have real policy preferences. Well written...[A] fine contribution to the literature on spatial modeling.
Choice
Roemer characterizes--correctly--the traditional Downsian model of political competition as one modeling competition between "opportunistic politicians" who themselves have no policy preferences and who choose instead to adopt positions that appeal to the preferences of the optimum number of voters. This, he says, is a misguided model, easy to use but empirically and theoretically inaccurate and producing meaningless results. He offers instead a more complex model...based on "parties in conflict," which have real policy preferences. Well written...[A] fine contribution to the literature on spatial modeling.
— M. Berheide
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674021051
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 0.73 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author

John Roemer is Elizabeth S. and A. Varick Stout Professor of Political Science and Economics, Yale University.
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Table of Contents

Preface

Introduction

1. Political Competition over a Single Issue: The Case of Certainty

1.1 Citizens, Voters, and Parties

1.2 The Downs Model

1.3 The Wittman Model

1.4 Conclusion

2. Modeling Party Uncertainty

2.1 Introduction

2.2 The State-Space Approach to Uncertainty

2.3 An Error-Distribution Model of Uncertainty

2.4 A Finite-Type Model

2.5 Conclusion

3. Unidimensional Policy Spaces with Uncertainty

3.1 Introduction

3.2 The Downs Model

3.3 The Wittman Model: An Example

3.4 Existence of Wittman Equilibrium

3.5 Properties of Wittman Equilibrium

3.6 Summary

4. Applications of the Wittman Model

4.1 Simple Models of Redistribution: The Politics of Extremism

4.2 Politico-Economic Equilibrium with Labor-Supply Elasticity

4.3 Partisan Dogmatism and Political Extremism

4.4 A Dynamic Model of Political Cycles

4.5 Conclusion

5. Endogenous Parties: The Unidimensional Case

5.1 Introduction

5.2 Average-Member Nash Equilibrium

5.3 Condorcet-Nash Equilibrium

5.4 Conclusion

6. Political Competition over Several Issues: The Case of Certainty

6.1 Introduction

6.2 The Downs Model

6.3 The Wittman Model

6.4 Conclusion

7. Multidimensional Issue Spaces and Uncertainty: The Downs Model

7.1 Introduction

7.2 The State-Space and Error-Distribution Models of Uncertainty

7.3 The Coughlin Model

7.4 The Lindbeck-Weibull Model

7.5 Adapting the Coughlin Model to the Case of Aggregate Uncertainty

7.6 Conclusion

8. Party Factions and Nash Equilibrium

8.1 Introduction

8.2 Party Factions

8.3 PUNE as a Bargaining Equilibrium

8.4 A Differential Characterization of PUNE

8.5 Regular Wittman Equilibrium

8.6 PUNEs in the Unidimensional Model

8.7 PUNEs in a Multidimensional Euclidean Model

8.8 Conclusion

9. The Democratic Political Economy of Progressive Taxation

9.1 Introduction

9.2 The Model

9.3 The Equilibrium Concepts

9.4 Analysis of Party Competition

9.5 Calibration

9.6 Conclusion

10. Why the Poor Do Not Expropriate the Rich in Democracies

10.1 The Historical Issue and a Model Preview

10.2 The Politico-Economic Environment

10.3 Analysis of PUNEs

10.4 Empirical Tests

10.5 Proofs of Theorems

10.6 Concluding Remark

11. Distributive Class Politics and the Political Geography of Interwar Europe

11.1 Introduction

11.2 The Luebbert Model

11.3 Testing Luebbert's Theory

11.4 Introducing the Communists: A Three-Party Model

11.5 Conclusion

11.6 Methodological Coda

Appendix 11A

12. A Three-Class Model of American Politics

12.1 Introduction

12.2 The Model

12.3 Characterization of PUNEs

12.4 Results

12.5 Conclusion

13. Endogenous Parties with Multidimensional Competition

13.1 Introduction

13.2 Endogenous Parties

13.3 Taxation and Race

13.4 Fitting the Model to U.S. Data

13.5 Quadratic Taxation

13.6 Private Financing of Parties

13.7 A Technical Remark on the Existence of PUNEs

13.8 Conclusion

13.9 Why the Poor Do Not Expropriate the Rich: Reprise

14. Toward a Model of Coalition Government

14.1 Introduction

14.2 The Payoff Function of a Wittman Party

14.3 An Example of Coalition Government: Unidimensional Wittman Equilibrium

14.4 Multidimensional Three-Party Politics

14.5 Coalition Government with a Multidimensional Issue Space: An Example

14.6 Conclusion

Mathematical Appendix

A.1 Basics of Probability Theory

A.2 Some Concepts from Analysis

References

Index

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