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Switching Equilibria

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Abstract

Models of elections typically indicate that all parties, in equilibrium, will adopt positions at the electoral center. This situation, however, is seldom observed. This chapter outlines how an integrated theory of party strategy may be constructed based on a theorem for existence of Local Nash Equilibrium (LNE) in a stochastic electoral model where political agents have differing valence, or electorally perceived quality. In a model based on exogenous valence, it is shown that, under proportional representation, a high valence political leader may be motivated to switch party so as to control a centrist policy position. Under plurality rule, political agents may be forced to switch party as a result of the conflicting demands of activist coalitions.

Keywords

  • Vote Share
  • Policy Position
  • Republican Party
  • Plurality Rule
  • Political Agent

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

This chapter is based on work supported by NSF grant 0715929, and a research grant from the Weidenbaum Center, Washington University. The chapter was revised while Schofield was a visiting fellow at ICER, Turin. Versions have been presented at conferences at Trinity College, Dublin, at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, and at Emory University. The figures are reproduced from Schofield and Sened (2006) with permission of Cambridge University Press.

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© 2009 William B. Heller and Carol Mershon

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Schofield, N. (2009). Switching Equilibria. In: Heller, W.B., Mershon, C. (eds) Political Parties and Legislative Party Switching. Palgrave Macmillan, New York. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230622555_3

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