A drawback of electoral competition

Alessandro Lizzeri, Nicola Persico

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    In most major democracies there are very few parties compared tothe numberof possible policy positions held by voters. We provide an efficiency rationale for why it might be appropriate to limit the proliferation of parties. In our model, the larger the number of parties, the greater the inefficiency of the outcome of electoral competition. The reason is that, when the number of parties increases, electoral incentives push each party to focus its electoral promises on a narrower constituency, and then special interest policies replace more efficient policies that have diffuse benefits. The analysis provides a possible explanation for the existence of institutional features that limit the extent of electoral competition: thresholds of exclusion, runoff electoral systems, and majoritarian two-party political systems.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1318-1348
    Number of pages31
    JournalJournal of the European Economic Association
    Issue number6
    StatePublished - 2005

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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