Political Behavior

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 287–306

Campaign competition and policy responsiveness in direct legislation elections

  • Elisabeth R. Gerber
  • Arthur Lupia


Many scholars, pundits, and reform advocates argue that more competitive elections are needed to produce policy outcomes that better reflect voter interests. We challenge this argument. Using a model of direct legislation elections, we prove that greater electoral competition is neither necessary nor sufficient for more responsive postelection policy outcomes. Instead, we find that more competition increases responsivenessonly if the additional competitors are both sympathetic to voter interests and sufficiently credible to affect voter behavior. If either condition fails to hold, then increasing competition will make votersworse off, if it affects them at all. We conclude that enhanced voter competence, and not more competition, is the key to greater responsiveness.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elisabeth R. Gerber
    • 1
  • Arthur Lupia
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of California-San DiegoCALa Jolla

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