In modern democracies, common wisdom suggests that political parties alternate in power due to voters’ disappointment. The aim of this paper is to show that parties’ turnover may be due to voters’ “satisfaction.” Our model is built on two main assumptions: Parties “own” different issues, and investments in the provision of public goods create a linkage between successive elections. We show that no party can maintain itself in power forever when the median voter is moderate enough. This result holds when the parties’ main objective is to win the election and is compatible with a large range of candidates subobjectives that may change from one election to the next. We also provide some novel welfare implications. Whereas rent-seeker candidates always dominate reelection-concerned candidates in one public good models, rent-seeker candidates may be welfare improving compared with reelection-concerned candidates.
Political cycles: issue ownership and the opposition advantage
14 January 2014