NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Electoral Competition and Special Interest Politics

Gene Grossman, Elhanan Helpman

NBER Working Paper No. 4877
Issued in October 1994
NBER Program(s):   ITI

We study the competition between two political parties for seats in a parliament. The parliament will set two types of policies: ideological and non-ideological. The parties have fixed positions on the ideological issues, but choose their non-ideological platforms to attract voters and campaign contributions. In this context, we ask: How do the equilibrium contributions from special interest groups influence the platforms of the parties? We show that each party is induced to behave as if it were maximizing a weighted sum of the aggregate welfares of informed voters and members of special interest groups. The party that is expected to win a majority of seats caters more to the special interests.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w4877

Published: Review of Economic Studies, (April 1996) vol. 63,no.2, pp. 265-286.

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