Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Who emerges from smoke-filled rooms? Political parties and candidate selection

Motz, Nicolas (2012): Who emerges from smoke-filled rooms? Political parties and candidate selection.


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This paper presents a model of candidate selection through political parties where politicians differ in terms of their quality and their favored policies. The central assumption is that political parties are better informed about their potential candidates than voters are. In addition, parties pursue political goals that differ from the interest of the median voter. Questions of interest include whether voters can gain information about candidates by observing the parties choice and to what extent parties select the candidates preferred by the median voter. The results depend crucially on how competitive the race is. Under strong competition, nominating a politically more extreme politician is a signal of high quality. Sufficient competition also induces parties to act in the interest of the median voter most of the time. Nevertheless, in most cases the median voter would be better off if parties shared his political preferences.

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