Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy

Editor-in-Chief: Jürges, Hendrik / Ludwig, Sandra

Ed. by Auriol , Emmanuelle / Brunner, Johann / Fleck, Robert / Mendola, Mariapia / Requate, Till / Schirle, Tammy / de Vries, Frans / Zulehner, Christine

4 Issues per year

IMPACT FACTOR 2016: 0.252
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 0.755

CiteScore 2016: 0.48

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 0.330
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016: 0.526

See all formats and pricing
More options …
Volume 13, Issue 2


Volume 6 (2006)

Volume 4 (2004)

Volume 2 (2002)

Volume 1 (2001)

Political Parties, Candidate Selection, and Quality of Government

Fernando M. Aragón
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC V5A1S6, Canada
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2013-08-10 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bejeap-2013-0036


This article explores empirically the relation between political parties’ institutions and quality of government. I focus on procedures used to nominate presidential candidates given the importance of candidate selection in party politics. Using a panel dataset of Latin American countries, I find robust evidence of a positive relation between the use of democratic procedures, such as primaries, and quality of government. To shed light on the mechanism, I examine why parties use primaries. I find evidence suggestive that the results are mostly driven by the increase in political competition and candidates’ pre-electoral incentives.

Keywords: institutions; governance; political parties; Latin America

JEL Classification: H11; H80


  • Adams, James, and Samuel Merrill. 2008. “Candidate and Party Strategies in Two-Stage Elections Beginning with a Primary.” American Journal of Political Science 52(2):344–59.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Alvarez, R. Michael, and Betsy Sinclair. 2012. “Electoral Institutions and Legislative Behavior: The Effects of Primary Processes.” Political Research Quarterly 65:544–57.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Angrist, Joshua D., and Jörn-Steffen Pischke. 2008. Mostly Harmless Econometrics: An Empiricist’s Companion. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar

  • Ansolabehere, Stephen, John M. Hansen, Shigeo Hirano, and James M. Snyder Jr. 2010. “Primary Elections and Partisan Polarization in the U.S. Congress.” Quarterly Journal of Political Science 5(2):169–91.Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Ansolabehere, Shigeo Hirano, and James M. Snyder Jr. 2007. “What Did the Direct Primary Do to Party Loyalty in Congress?” In Process, Party and Policy Making: Further New Perspectives on the History of Congress, edited by Brady David and Matthew D. McCubbins. Volume 2, Stanford: Stanford University Press, pp. 21–36.Google Scholar

  • Aragón, Fernando M. 2013. “Why Do Parties Use Primaries? Political Selection versus Candidate Incentives.” Public Choice. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11127-013-0076-8

  • Barro, Robert J. 1996. “Democracy and Growth.” Journal of Economic Growth 1:1–27.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Beck, Thorsten, George Clarke, Alberto Groff, Philip Keefer, and Patrick Walsh. 2001. “New Tools in Comparative Political Economy: The Database of Political Institutions.” The World Bank Economic Review 15(1):165–76.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Besley, Timothy, and Anne Case. 2003. “Political Institutions and Policy Choices: Evidence from the United States.” Journal of Economic Literature 41(1):7–73.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Caillaud, Bernard, and Jean Tirole. 2002. “Parties as Political Intermediaries.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 117(4):1453–89.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Carey, John M., and John Polga-Hecimovich. 2006. “Primary Elections and Candidate Strength in Latin America.” The Journal of Politics 68(3):530–43.Google Scholar

  • Carey, John M., and John Polga-Hecimovich. 2007. “Replication data for: Primary Elections in Latin America Project”. http://hdl.handle.net/1902.1/10472

  • Castanheira, Micael, Benot Crutzen, and Nicolas Sahuguet. 2010. “Party Organization and Electoral Competition.” The Journal of Law, Economics and Organization 26(2):212–42.Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Cruz, Cesi, and Philip Keefer. 2010. “Programmatic Political Parties and Public Sector Reform.” APSA Annual Meeting Paper 2010.Google Scholar

  • Duverger, Maurice. 1965. Political Parties: Their Organization and Activity in the Modern State. 2nd edition. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar

  • Freidenberg, Flavia. 2003. Selección de Candidatos y Democracia Interna en los Partidos de América Latina Biblioteca de la Reforma Poltica. Lima:Asociación Civil Transparencia.Google Scholar

  • Gerber, Elisabeth R., and Rebecca B. Morton. 1998. “Primary Election Systems and Representation.” Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization 14(2):304–24.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Hall, Robert E., and Charles I. Jones. 1999. “Why Do Some Countries Produce so Much More Output Per Worker Than Others?” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 114(1):83–116.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Hazan, Reuven Y., and Gideon Rahat. 2006. “Candidate Selection: Methods and Consequences.” In Handbook of Party Politics, edited by Richard S. Katz and William Crotty, Chapter 10, 109–21. London: Sage.Google Scholar

  • Hortala-Vallve, Rafael, and Hannes Mueller. “Primaries: The Unifying Force, UFAE and IAE Working Papers.” vol. 843, 10 September 2010.Google Scholar

  • Jackson, Mathew O., Laurent Mathevet, and Kyle Mattes. 2007. “Nomination Processes and Policy Outcomes.” Quarterly Journal of Political Science 2(1):67–94.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Kemahlioglu, Ozge, Rebecca Weitz-Shapiro, and Shigeo Hirano. 2009. “Why Primaries in Latin American Presidential Elections?” The Journal of Politics 71:339–52.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Klumpp, Tilman, and Mattias K. Polborn. 2006. “Primaries and the New Hampshire Effect”. Journal of Public Economics 90(6–7):1073–114.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Knack, Stephen, and Philip Keefer. 1995. “Institutions And Economic Performance: Cross-Country Tests Using Alternative Institutional Measures.” Economics and Politics 7(3):207–27.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Knight, Brian, and Nathan Schiff. 2010. “Momentum and Social Learning in Presidential Primaries.” Journal of Political Economy 118(6):1110–50.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Kudamatsu, Masayuki. 2012. “Has Democratization Reduced Infant Mortality in sub-Saharan Africa? Evidence from Micro Data.” Journal of the European Economic Association 10(6):1294–1317.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • La Porta, Rafael, Florencio López de Silanes, Andrei Shleifer, and Robert Vishny. 1999. “The Quality of Government.” Journal of Law Economics and Organization 15(1):222–79.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Meirowitz, Adam. 2005. “Informational Party Primaries and Strategic Ambiguity.” Journal of Theoretical Politics 17(1):107–36.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Moulton, Brent R. 1990. “An Illustration of a Pitfall in Estimating the Effects of Aggregate Variables on Micro Unit.” The Review of Economics and Statistics 72(2):334–8.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Papaioannou, Elias, and Gregorios Siourounis. 2008. “Democratisation and Growth.” The Economic Journal 118(532):1520–51.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Persson, Torsten, and Guido Tabellini. 2003. The Economic Effects of Constitutions. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar

  • Persson, Torsten, and Francesco Trebbi. 2003. “Electoral Rules and Corruption.” Journal of the European Economic Association 1(4):958–89.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Rodrik, Dani, and Romain Wacziarg. 2005. “Do Democratic Transitions Produce Bad Economic Outcomes?” The American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings 95(2):50–5.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Sáez, Manuel Alcántara. 2002. “Experimentos de Democracia Interna: Las Primarias de Partidos en América Latina.” Kellogg Institute Working Paper 293, Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies, April 2002.Google Scholar

  • Scartascini, Carlos, Pablo T. Spiller, Ernesto Stein, and Mariano Tommasi, eds. 2008. Policymaking in Latin America: How Politics Shapes Policies. Washington, DC: Harvard University/Inter-American Development Bank.Google Scholar

  • Serra, Gilles. 2011. “Why Primaries? The Party’s Tradeoff between Policy and Valence.” Journal of Theoretical Politics 23(1):21–51.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • White, John Kenneth. 2006. “What Is a Political Party?” In Handbook of Party Politics, edited by Richard S. Katz and William Crotty, Chapter 1, 5–15. London: Sage.Google Scholar

About the article

Published Online: 2013-08-10

Citation Information: The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, Volume 13, Issue 2, Pages 783–810, ISSN (Online) 1935-1682, ISSN (Print) 2194-6108, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bejeap-2013-0036.

Export Citation

©2013 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin / Boston. Copyright Clearance Center

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in