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The Real Swing Voter's Curse

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Author Info

  • James A. Robinson
  • Ragnar Torvik

Abstract

A key idea in political economy is that policy is often tailored to voters who are not ideologically attached - swing voters. We show, however, that in political environments where political parties can use repression and violence to exclude voters from elections, they may optimally target the swing voters. This is because they anticipate that if they had to compete for the support of these voters, they would end up giving them a lot of policy favors. Hence in weakly institutionalized political environments swing voters are cursed rather than blessed. We illustrate the analysis with a discussion of recent political events in Zimbabwe.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.99.2.310
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 99 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 310-15

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:99:y:2009:i:2:p:310-15

Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.99.2.310
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  1. Timothy J. Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1995. "The Swing Voter's Curse," Discussion Papers 1064, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. Assar Lindbeck & J├Ârgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. The curse of the swing voter
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2009-03-26 14:31:00
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Cited by:
  1. Wolitzky, Alexander, 2013. "Endogenous institutions and political extremism," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 86-100.

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  1. Economic Logic blog

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