NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

An Overlapping Generations Model of Electoral Competition

Alberto Alesina, Stephen E. Spear

NBER Working Paper No. 2354
Issued in August 1987
NBER Program(s):   ME

This paper presents a dynamic model of political competition between two "parties" with different policy preferences. A "party" is explicitly modeled as a sequence of overlapping generations of candidates, all of whom face finite decision horizons. In general, there is a conflict between the interests of the individual policymakers and those of the "party" , which includes subsequent generations of candidates. We characterize this conflict and suggest a scheme of "intergenerational transfers" within the party which can resolve or mitigate this conflict. The paper shows how the "overlapping generations" model can be usefully applied to the political arena.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w2354

Published: Journal of Public Economics, vol.37, pp359-379, December 1988

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