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Elections, Coalitions, and Legislative Outcomes

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 September 2013

David Austen-Smith
University of Rochester
Jeffrey Banks
University of Rochester


Predictions of electoral behavior in a multiparty setting should be a function of the voters' beliefs about how parties will perform following an election. Similarly, party behavior in a legislature should be a function of electoral promises and rewards. We develop a multistage game-theoretic model of three-party competition under proportional representation. The final policy outcome of the game is generated by a noncooperative bargaining game between the parties in the elected legislature. This game is essentially defined by the vote shares each party receives in the general election, and the parties' electoral policy positions. At the electoral stage parties and voters are strategic in that they take account of the legislative implications of any electoral outcome. We solve for equilibrium electoral positions by the parties and final policy outcomes.

Copyright © American Political Science Association 1988

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