This chapter focuses on Downsian party competition, a behavioral model of elections based on satisficing coupled to the Schattschneider-Schumpeter-Downs macrohypothesis that major parties in vigorous democracies are structured to win elections. The discussion is based on central premises about decision making that closely follow Simon’s analysis: winners satisfice while losers search. After a review of relevant literature, the chapter describes the model and several implications. It then models political parties as adaptive organizations that compete in a sequence of elections. It also considers alternative specifications of the challenger’s search behavior by endowing him with different degrees of sophistication and certain kinds of knowledge about the political terrain. Finally, it examines whether the results are sensitive to changes in key assumptions.
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