Title

Predicting ambiguity: Costs, benefits, and party competition

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2017

Publication Title

Political Research Quarterly

Volume

70

Issue

2

First page number:

301

Last page number:

313

Abstract

We present a formal model of party competition to explain differences in party ideological ambiguity. Existing works generally argue that parties are more or less ambiguous depending on whether their supporters are risk-acceptant or risk-averse. Our model explores more fully strategic choice of ambiguity by considering nonelectoral benefits to ambiguity-that is, party elite recruitment and retention. In terms of costs, we assume that all voters are risk-averse, who therefore prefer less ideological ambiguity. Explicitly considering both costs and benefits derives our hypotheses and highlights the importance of party competition-ambiguity is influenced by the proximity to a party’s closest ideological competitor. An empirical analysis of twenty-eight European countries supports our hypotheses. © 2017 University of Utah.

Language

english

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