Who will attack the competitors? How political parties resolve strategic and collective action dilemmas in negative campaigning

Dolezal, Martin; Ennser-Jedenastik, Laurenz and Müller, Wolfgang C. (2017) Who will attack the competitors? How political parties resolve strategic and collective action dilemmas in negative campaigning. Party Politics, 23 (6), pp. 666-679.

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Abstract or Table of Contents

Negative campaigning presents parties with a collective action problem. While parties would prefer to have their competitors attacked, potential backlash effects from negative messages mean that individual politicians typically lack the incentives to carry out such attacks. We theorize that parties solve this problem by implementing a division of labour that takes into account the incentives of individual office holders, their availability for campaign activity, and media relevance. Drawing on these arguments we expect that holders of high public office and party leaders are less likely to issue attacks, leaving the bulk of the ‘dirty work’ to be carried out by party floor leaders and general secretaries. Examining almost 8000 press releases issued by over 600 individual politicians during four election campaigns in Austria, we find strong support for our theoretical expectations.

Item Type: Article in Academic Journal
Keywords: Austria, division of labour, negative campaigning, party organization, party roles
Research Units: European Governance and Public Finance
Status: Published
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2018 08:55
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2018 08:55
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1177/1354068815619832
ISSN: 1354-0688
URI: https://irihs.ihs.ac.at/id/eprint/4581

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