In politics, we often observe stasis when, at first sight, no reason exists for such policy blockades. In contrast., we sometimes see policy change when one would expect blockades resulting from veto points or countervailing majorities. How can we explain these contradictory results concerning policy stability? In order to solve this theoretical puzzle, we develop an agent-based model (ABM). We combine established models of veto player theory (Tsebelis 2002: Ganghof-Bräuninger 2006) with the findings of political sociology and party competition. By aggregating previous party-level findings, we show that dynamic representation (Stimson et. al. 1995) provides an additional mechanism that can explain these macro-level outcomes. Parties behaving responsively to their electorate do not automatically guarantee perfect responsivity on the party system level. Further, if opposition parties also fear punishment by the electorate for government inaction, the opposition behaves more accommodatingly than previous approaches have predicted.
© 2016 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston