The Evolutionary Dynamics of Decision Rule Selection

Michael Laver and Ernest Sergenti

in Party Competition

Published by Princeton University Press

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780691139036
Published online October 2017 | e-ISBN: 9781400840328
The Evolutionary Dynamics of Decision Rule Selection

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This chapter extends the survival-of-the-fittest evolutionary environment to consider the possibility that new political parties, when they first come into existence, do not pick decision rules at random but instead choose rules that have a track record of past success. This is done by adding replicator-mutator dynamics to the model, according to which the probability that each rule is selected by a new party is an evolving but noisy function of that rule's past performance. Estimating characteristic outputs when this type of positive feedback enters the dynamic model creates new methodological challenges. The simulation results show that it is very rare for one decision rule to drive out all others over the long run. While the diversity of decision rules used by party leaders is drastically reduced with such positive feedback in the party system, and while some particular decision rule is typically prominent over a certain period of time, party systems in which party leaders use different decision rules are sustained over substantial periods.

Keywords: multiparty competition; decision rules; political parties; party competition

Chapter.  8863 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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