Divergent platforms

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Models of electoral competition between two opportunistic, office-motivated parties typically predict that both parties become indistinguishable in equilibrium. I show that this strong connection between the office motivation of parties and their equilibrium choice of identical platforms depends on two—possibly false—assumptions: (1) Issue spaces are uni-dimensional and (2) Parties are unitary actors whose preferences can be represented by expected utilities. I provide an example of a two-party model in which parties offer substantially different equilibrium platforms even though no exogenous differences between parties are assumed. In this example, some voters’ preferences over the 2-dimensional issue space exhibit non-convexities and parties evaluate their actions with respect to a set of beliefs on the electorate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)561-580
Number of pages20
JournalTheory and Decision
Issue number4
Early online date19 Sept 2015
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016


  • Downs model
  • Games with Incomplete Preferences
  • Platform Divergence
  • Knightian Uncertainty,
  • Uncertainty Aversion.

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