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Chapter 9-16

POL 1101 Chapter 9-16: Study Notes, Ch. 9-16.docx


Department
Political Science
Course Code
POL 1101
Professor
Matthew Kerby
Chapter
9-16

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Political Parties (Chapter 9)
Compete for political power
Provide public goods
Functions
Innovative policy design: advisors, think tanks, research institutes; salience to politically
advantageous issues; compromise between leadership and activists
Leader selection
Government formation: continuity of political parties allows punishment/rewards for
incumbents
Endogenous Exogenous
Form within existing assemblies Form with the initiative of people who intend
to enter electoral competition
Coordinating candidacies, initiatives Often previously existing interest groups
Leaders/professional politicians
“vote-seekers”/”office-seekers”
Candidates in elections, hold offices
Selective incentives required to undertake collective action (ambition for public office,
vanity, exercise of power, high status, titles)
Often opportunist
Dominance of leaders creates oligarchy
Activists
“policy-seekers”
Link between leadership and electorate
More extreme positions than voters and leaders (Law of Curvilinear Disparity)
Interest groups: corporations, labour unions, churches, social movements
M/E
Relative number of members in a party: members divided by electors
Types of Parties
Cadre party Mass party Militant party Cartel party
Dominated by leaders
(oligarchy)
Numerous affiliates &
activists
Reduced but active
membership
State subsidy or
big donors

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Restrictive internal
rules
Participatory rules Participatory rules Less need to be a
party member
Low membership Large membership More extreme policies Electioneering &
mass media
Small voter base
Multiparty coalitions
Electoral Competition (Chapter 10)
Spatial Model
Distance between positions represents differences in policy proposals or voters’
preferences
Each voter has an “ideal point” on each issue and will vote for closest policy
Party’s ideological position is a weighted average of individual issues’ policies
Voter’s Utility Function
Individual preference curves
Single-peaked
Symmetrical
Median Voter
Fighting for the political center
Party at median position wins a majority of votes in a two-party system: causes
convergence of parties’ policies
No incentive for parties to move away from median voter’s preference unilaterally
Maximizes social utility
Incumbent’s Advantage
Past record of good performance confers advantage (in office and private life:
morals/character)
Incumbents can give select information to the public about their actions while in
government
Evaluation of incumbent based on facts/performance, as opposed to speculation for
opposition
Party Identification
Vote for a party based on past performance rather than current issues
Estimating credibility based on previous performance: “retrospective voting”

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Accounts for:
Volatility of voters in new democracies
Importance of current issues for decisions of young voters
Volatility of young voters
Party fidelity increases over time
Elections often won by incumbents
In established democracies, a large change in results requires sudden
event/dramatic change
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