The Effects of Higher Re-election Hurdles and Costs of Policy Change on Political Polarization
- Working Paper
We develop and study a two-period model of political competition where (i) changes of policies impose costs on all individuals, and (ii) such costs increase linearly with the magnitude of the policy change. The contribution is two-fold. First, we show that intermediate marginal costs yield the lowest levels of policy polarization, welfare being a single-peaked function of the marginal cost. Second, we apply our model to the design of optimal re-election hurdles. We show that whatever the marginal cost of change, raising the vote-share needed for re-election above a half reduces policy polarization and increases welfare. We further prove the existence of a unique re-election hurdle that simultaneously maximizes welfare and minimizes policy polarization. The robustness of our results is studied for several extensions of the baseline model, notably for convex costs of change. Show more
Journal / seriesCEPR Discussion Papers
Pages / Article No.
PublisherCentre for Economic Policy Research
Organisational unit03729 - Gersbach, Hans / Gersbach, Hans
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