Party Competition and Policy Liberalism

Zachary D. Baumann, Michael J. Nelson, Markus Neumann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Party competition is foundational to the study of modern politics, affecting outcomes as varied as policy choices, political participation, and the quality of representation. Scholars have long argued that increased levels of party competition are associated with more liberal policy making. By this logic, parties in close competition with one another try to expand their bases of support by catering to the desires of those who tend to abstain from the political process - the have-nots. We extend this classic hypothesis by examining the relationship between competition and policy liberalism over several decades, articulating and testing a theory that suggests that party competition relates differently to social and economic policy liberalism. We find robust evidence that increased competition has a positive relationship with economic policy liberalism, weaker evidence for a negative relationship between competition and social policy liberalism, and suggestive evidence that the direction and magnitudes of these relationships have changed over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)266-285
Number of pages20
JournalState Politics and Policy Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 19 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Political Science and International Relations

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