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Coalition Formation and Selectorate Theory: An Experiment*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 November 2015

Abstract

This paper uses a laboratory experiment to examine how different rules for re-selecting the leader of a group affects how that leader builds a winning coalition. Leaders play an inter-group game and then distribute winnings from that game within their group before standing for re-selection. The results of the experiment show that leaders of groups with large winning coalition systems rely heavily on distributing winnings through public goods, while leaders of groups with small winning coalition systems are more likely to target specific citizens with private goods. Furthermore, the experiment shows that supporters of small coalition leaders benefit from that support in future rounds by receiving more private goods than citizens that did not support the leader. Meanwhile, citizens that support a large coalition leader do not benefit from this support in future rounds. Therefore, small coalition leaders target individual citizens to maintain a coalition over time in a way not possible in a group with a large winning coalition. Finally, in the experiment, small coalition leaders increased their payoffs over time, suggesting that once power has been consolidated, small coalition leaders narrow their coalition.

Type
Original Articles
Copyright
© The European Political Science Association 2015 

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Footnotes

*

Andrew W. Bausch, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Institute for Politics and Strategy, Carnegie Mellon University (bausch@nyu.edu). A draft of this paper was presented at the Midwest Political Science Association’s 2013 Annual Conference and in the SDS Lecture Series at Carnegie Mellon University. The author thanks Bernd Beber, Mik Laver, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, Sarah Croco, John Miller, and Rebecca Morton for their helpful comments. Funding for this study was provided by a New York University, Department of Politics Data Gathering Grant. To view supplementary material for this article, please visit http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/psrm.2015.63

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Supplementary material: PDF

Bausch supplementary material

Appendix

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Supplementary material: File

Bausch supplementary material

Bausch supplementary material

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