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Christina Isabel Zuber, "Beyond outbidding? Ethnic party strategies in Serbia," Party Politics, 19 (September 2013), 758-777. [Available at ]

First paragraph:
The conventional outbidding model of ethnic party competition predicts that ethnic parties adopt radical strategies to maximize support among voters belonging to an ethnic group1 (Rabushka and Shepsle, 1972: 83). The prediction hinges crucially on assuming intransigent preferences on the side of the voters. Relatedly, Horowitz, the second prominent representative of the outbidding model, assumes that ethnic parties are driven by the incompatibility of the interests of the groups that support them, 'and quite often their fundamental incompatibility' (1985: 297). If this holds, 'moderation on the ethnic issue is a viable strategy only if ethnicity is not salient' (Rabushka and Shepsle, 1972: 86) and outbidding ethnic parties pose a severe challenge for the survival of democracy.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Trust and identification with African polTable 1. Conceptualizing ethnic party strategies.
Table 2. Hungarian and Bosniak minority parties in Serbia.
Table 3. Summary of results

Last Paragraph:
What parties want, however, is only one part of the equation; the second factor is the structure of competition where parties choose their strategies in interaction with their competitors (Adams and Somer-Topcu, 2009). Elites from parties that shifted their strategy over time were all emphasizing the wish to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Furthermore, it matters who these competitors are. Whereas parties that engage in ethnic outbidding compete only on the dimension of offers made to address group-specific preferences and differentiate themselves from more moderate intra-ethnic competitors, parties that launch lateral bids compete with mono-appeal ethnic parties over the best offer on the ethnic dimension and with majority parties on whichever additional dimension they choose to emphasize in their programme. This pulls them further towards more moderate positions on the ethnic dimension. A refined theory of ethnic party competition should therefore connect the logic of strategy selection analysed here in detail to the logic of situation defined by varying structures of competition in the intra- and inter-ethnic arenas while acknowledging the different goals of ethnic parties

Last updated November 2013