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A model of political parties

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This paper presents a new model of political parties. I assume that the role of parties is to increase the commitment ability of politicians vis-à-vis the voters. Whereas a politician running alone can only offer his ideal policy, the set of policies that a party can commit to is the Pareto set of its members. I show that the commitment mechanisms provided by the institution of parties has no effect when the policy space is unidimensional; the policies parties can induce in equilibrium arise also when politicians are running independently. However, when the policy space is multidimensional, politicians use the vehicle of parties to offer equilibrium policies that they cannot offer in their absence.

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