Party Competition: An Agent-Based Model: An Agent-Based Model

Princeton University Press
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Party competition for votes in free and fair elections involves complex interactions by multiple actors in political landscapes that are continuously evolving, yet classical theoretical approaches to the subject leave many important questions unanswered. Here Michael Laver and Ernest Sergenti offer the first comprehensive treatment of party competition using the computational techniques of agent-based modeling. This exciting new technology enables researchers to model competition between several different political parties for the support of voters with widely varying preferences on many different issues. Laver and Sergenti model party competition as a true dynamic process in which political parties rise and fall, a process where different politicians attack the same political problem in very different ways, and where today's political actors, lacking perfect information about the potential consequences of their choices, must constantly adapt their behavior to yesterday's political outcomes.

Party Competition shows how agent-based modeling can be used to accurately reflect how political systems really work. It demonstrates that politicians who are satisfied with relatively modest vote shares often do better at winning votes than rivals who search ceaselessly for higher shares of the vote. It reveals that politicians who pay close attention to their personal preferences when setting party policy often have more success than opponents who focus solely on the preferences of voters, that some politicians have idiosyncratic "valence" advantages that enhance their electability--and much more.

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About the author

Michael Laver is professor of politics at New York University. He is the coauthor of Multiparty Government: The Politics of Coalition in Europe. Ernest Sergenti is a consultant at the World Bank.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Oct 10, 2011
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Pages
296
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ISBN
9781400840328
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / Political Process / Campaigns & Elections
Political Science / Political Process / Political Parties
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Edouard Al-Dahdah
The primary focus of this book is on a specific outcome of the rule of law: the practical enforcement of laws and policies, and the determinants of this enforcement, or lack thereof. Are there significant and persistent differences in implementation across countries? Why are some laws and policies more systematically enforced than others? Are “good†? laws likely to be enacted, and if not, what stands in the way? We answer these questions using a theoretical framework and detailed empirical data and illustrate with case studies from Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan. We believe that the best way to understand the variation in the drafting and implementation of laws and policies is to examine the interests and incentives of those responsible for these tasks †“ policymakers and bureaucrats. If laws and their enforcement offer concrete benefits to these ruling elites, they are more likely to be systematically enforced. If they don't, implementation is selective, discretionary, if not nil. Our first contribution is in extending the application of the concept of the rule of law beyond its traditional focus on specific organizations like the courts and the police, to economic sectors such as customs, taxation and land inheritance, in a search for a direct causal relationship with economic development outcomes. Instead of limiting ourselves to a particular type of organization or a legalistic approach to the rule of law, we present a broader theory of how laws are made and implemented across different types of sectors and organizations. Our second contribution is in demonstrating how powerful interests affect implementation outcomes. The incentives elites have to build and support rule-of-law institutions derive from the distribution of power in society, which is partly a historical given. The point we make is that it is not deterministic. Realigning the incentive structures for reform among key actors and organizations, through accountability and competition, can dramatically improve the chances that rule-of-law institutions will take root. On the other hand, building the capacity of organizations without first changing institutional incentives is likely to lead to perverse outcomes.
Edouard Al-Dahdah
The primary focus of this book is on a specific outcome of the rule of law: the practical enforcement of laws and policies, and the determinants of this enforcement, or lack thereof. Are there significant and persistent differences in implementation across countries? Why are some laws and policies more systematically enforced than others? Are “good†? laws likely to be enacted, and if not, what stands in the way? We answer these questions using a theoretical framework and detailed empirical data and illustrate with case studies from Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan. We believe that the best way to understand the variation in the drafting and implementation of laws and policies is to examine the interests and incentives of those responsible for these tasks †“ policymakers and bureaucrats. If laws and their enforcement offer concrete benefits to these ruling elites, they are more likely to be systematically enforced. If they don't, implementation is selective, discretionary, if not nil. Our first contribution is in extending the application of the concept of the rule of law beyond its traditional focus on specific organizations like the courts and the police, to economic sectors such as customs, taxation and land inheritance, in a search for a direct causal relationship with economic development outcomes. Instead of limiting ourselves to a particular type of organization or a legalistic approach to the rule of law, we present a broader theory of how laws are made and implemented across different types of sectors and organizations. Our second contribution is in demonstrating how powerful interests affect implementation outcomes. The incentives elites have to build and support rule-of-law institutions derive from the distribution of power in society, which is partly a historical given. The point we make is that it is not deterministic. Realigning the incentive structures for reform among key actors and organizations, through accountability and competition, can dramatically improve the chances that rule-of-law institutions will take root. On the other hand, building the capacity of organizations without first changing institutional incentives is likely to lead to perverse outcomes.
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