Discussion paper

DP17538 Polarization and Electoral Balance

We study a model of electoral competition in which two politicians with different office motivations set party platforms and both politicians and grass- roots can provide electoral effort. While the underlying structure of the model is asymmetric, we show that both parties have an equal chance of winning the election. In equilibrium, however, only the most office motivated politician matters for policy polarization and welfare: a kind of Gresham’s law for politicians. The greater this office motivation, the greater is polarization and the lower is welfare. Less interest in politics means also greater polarization and lower welfare.


Mattozzi, A and D Levine (2022), ‘DP17538 Polarization and Electoral Balance‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 17538. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp17538