Nina Wiesehomeier and Kenneth Benoit, Presidents, Parties And Policy Competition, Journal of Politics, 71, 2009, 1435-1447
Journal of Politics; 71;
Presidential systems present a unique possibility for spatial competition between elected political agents, since
presidents may represent different policy positions than the parties to which they belong. Previous research,
however, has lacked a firm empirical basis on which to measure these differences. We remedy this situation,
providing independent estimates of positions and saliencies for presidents and parties on multiple policy dimensions
in 18 Latin American countries, from original expert survey data. Our results offer strong evidence that positioning
on nearly all political issues neatly reduces to a single dimension of left-right contestation. Furthermore, contrasting
differences between the positioning of presidents and their own parties, we show that presidents tend to position
themselves independently of their parties more in bicameral and proportional representation systems, when they
differ in the importance they assign to a given policy dimension, and when elections with legislatures are
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