When Do Partisans Cross the Party Line?

  • 10 Mar 2020

    12:30-14:00, Clay Room, Nuffield College

  • Political Science Seminars   Add to Calendar
Speaker: George Ofosu

Assistant Professor, Dept of Government, LSE

Electoral accountability relies, in part, on voters willingness to cross party lines to select a competent opposition politician. Knowing when voters will cross party lines is essential for democratic representation. I argue that two critical constituency-level factors will jointly influence the likelihood that a voter will vote for an opponent: the partisan geography and the level of electoral competition. Regarding the first, voters have an incentive to vote for opponents in partisan non-segregated districts because, in these settings, politicians cannot channel goods to home areas. Concerning the second, I suggest that voters only have an incentive to vote for opponents when this behavior is pivotal, that is when there is a high level of competition.  

In other electoral settings, partisans have minimal incentive to vote for opponents because either their vote is not essential or they do not expect to benefit from the goods that she will provide (or both). I find support for my argument using data from a conjoint experiment alongside survey responses of citizens (N=2,020) located in a stratified, representative sample of electoral districts in Ghana.

The Political Science Seminar Series is convened by Andy EggersEzequiel Gonzalez Ocantos and David RuedaFor more information on this or any of the seminars in the series, please contact