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Party CompetitionAn Agent-Based Model$
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Michael Laver and Ernest Sergenti

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691139036

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691139036.001.0001

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Nonpolicy Factors in Party Competition

Nonpolicy Factors in Party Competition

(p.183) Chapter Nine Nonpolicy Factors in Party Competition
Party Competition

Michael Laver

Ernest Sergenti

Princeton University Press

Moving beyond the assumption that voters care about only the party policy positions on offer, this chapter models the possibility that they also care about perceived “nonpolicy” attributes of political candidates, such as competence, charisma, honesty. These characterize what have become known as “valence” models of party competition. Voters balance utility derived from each candidate's nonpolicy valence against utility derived from the candidate's policy position. The contribution of valence models has been to explain why all parties do not all converge on regions of the policy space with the highest densities of voter ideal points. Higher valence parties tend to go to regions of the policy space with higher voter densities, while lower valence parties are forced to steer well clear of these parties and pick policy positions in regions with lower voter densities.

Keywords:   voter behavior, voter preferences, political parties, party competition, valence models

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