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Intra-Party Competition in Open-List PR Systems

Fri, September 1, 4:00 to 5:30pm, Westin St. Francis, Elizabethan B


José Antonio Cheibub (Texas A&M University) and Gisela Sin (University of Illinois).
Are open-list proportional representation elections (OLPR) characterized by intense intra-party competition? Existing work suggests that they are: because successful candidates must garner sufficient preference (personal) votes to be placed at the top of the party list, they compete with their co-partisans as much, or more, as they compete with candidates from other parties. In this paper we argue that even in OLPR system candidates and parties have an incentive to limit intra-party competition. We argue that viable candidates seek to limit intra-party competition for two reasons. First, to prevent the party resources they need to get elected from being squandered. Second, to reduce the uncertainty about their post-election list placement. Parties, in turn, have the means to limit intra-list competition, and the incentive do so in order to retain viable candidates in their lists. We test implications of this theory on data for Brazil, Finland and Poland.