Spatial models of political competition with endogenous political parties

Michael Laver, Michel Schilperoord

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Two important human action selection processes are the choice by citizens of parties to support in elections and the choice by party leaders of policy 'packages' offered to citizens in order to attract this support. Having reviewed approaches analysing these choices and the reasons for doing this using the methodology of agent-based modelling, we extend a recent agent-based model of party competition to treat the number and identity of political parties as an output of, rather than an input to, the process of party competition. Party birth is modelled as an endogenous change of agent type from citizen to party leader, which requires describing citizen dissatisfaction with the history of the system. Endogenous birth and death of parties transforms into a dynamic system even in an environment where all agents have otherwise non-responsive adaptive rules. A key parameter is the survival threshold, with lower thresholds leaving citizens on average less dissatisfied. Paradoxically, the adaptive rule most successful for party leaders in winning votes makes citizens on average less happy than under other policy-selection rules.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1711-1721
    Number of pages11
    JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
    Issue number1485
    StatePublished - Sep 29 2007


    • Agent-based models
    • Citizen satisfaction
    • Endogenous parties
    • Party competition
    • Policy positions
    • Updating

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
    • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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