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Contestable Leadership: Party Leaders as Principals and Agents

Iaryczower, Matias (2008) Contestable Leadership: Party Leaders as Principals and Agents. Quarterly Journal of Political Science, 3 (3). pp. 203-225. ISSN 1554-0626. doi:10.1561/100.00007049.

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This paper examines the institutional determinants of discipline in legislative parties. The model formalizes the tradeoff between resources at the leader's discretion, and the leader's need to maintain a minimum level of support to continue leading. The value of the leader's promises of future benefits is here endogenously determined by the backbenchers' beliefs about the extent of support to the leader among other party legislators. Rewards that can be distributed publicly and on the spot are effective tools to coordinate beliefs about the stability of the leader, and thus also increase the value of the leader's promises of future benefits. These spot resources are in fact necessary for the leader to be powerful: without them, the leader can use promises of future benefits to sway members' behavior only if a majority of the party agrees (ex ante) with the leader's preferred position in the first place.

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Additional Information:© 2008 M. Iaryczower. MS submitted 25 October 2007; final version received 2 May 2008. This paper is a revised version of the first chapter of my PhD dissertation. I am very grateful to David Levine, Andy Atkeson, Hal Cole, Christian Hellwig, Leeat Yariv, and Juliana Bambaci for their helpful discussions and suggestions. I am also thankful to numerous seminar participants at Caltech, Chicago, Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Maryland, U. Penn, Princeton, Rice, Stanford, UC Berkeley, UCSD, andWashington University in St. Louis, as well as to many others at UCLA, for their useful comments to previous versions of this paper.
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:IARqjps
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Official Citation:Matias Iaryczower (2008) "Contestable Leadership: Party Leaders as Principals and Agents", Quarterly Journal of Political Science: Vol. 3:No 3, pp 203-225. http:/
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:13372
Deposited By: Lindsay Cleary
Deposited On:09 Apr 2009 18:22
Last Modified:08 Nov 2021 22:37

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