We propose a model in which two parties select the internal organization that helps them win the election. Party choices provide incentives to the politicians who represent them. Depending on whether politicians are opportunistic or partisan, we identify four effects. First, a selection effect: intraparty competition gives parties more candidates to choose from. Second, an incentive effect: intraparty competition adds a hurdle and impacts on candidates’ incentives. Third, a trust effect: because of the incentive effect, intraparty competition is a signal to uninformed voters. Finally, with partisan preferences, an ideology effect appears. Ideology is a public good in a competitive party and induces free riding. Intraparty competition is valuable when voters are badly informed or interparty competition is weak. These results rationalize the introduction of direct primaries in the U.S., the organizational changes in Western European parties since 1960 and the organizational differences between centrist and extreme parties.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Electoral law reforms, Incentives, Party organization, Primaries
JEL Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights (jel D23), Economic Models of Political Processes: Rent-Seeking, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior (jel D72), Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty (jel D81)
Publisher Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam
Persistent URL hdl.handle.net/1765/14437
Series AE-reeks
Journal Report Series Department of Economics
Castanheira, M, Crutzen, B.S.Y, & Sahuguet, N. (2008). Party Organization and Electoral Competition (No. Report Series Department of Economic 2008-1201). Report Series Department of Economics. Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/14437