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Legislative Equilibria with Intra-Party Voting

Fri, September 1, 12:00 to 1:30pm, Westin St. Francis, Elizabethan B


A seminal article by Carey and Shugart (1995) identifies institutional rules which incentivize candidates to cultivate personal reputations with voters, as opposed to simply relying on the 'brand' reputations of their political parties. This paper develops a game theoretic model of candidate behavior in electoral systems which allow voters intra-party choice, such as open-list proportional representation (OLPR) and the single non-transferable vote (SNTV). It identifies a class of 'Balancing Equilibria' which apply equally in all such systems. Not only do these equilibria provide testable implications regarding legislative behavior and electoral outcomes in systems with intra-party voting; they also suggest that much of the complexity in Carey and Shugart's original schema can be compressed to a few simple institutional distinctions, and in particular that many intra-party voting systems including OLPR, SNTV, and others with `multiple' or `transferable' votes may be strategically equivalent, i.e. characterized by identical Nash Equilibrium characteristics. This strategic equivalence simplifies the process of operationalizing Carey and Shugart's framework, and should thus increase its empirical applicability.