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Information and Strategic Political Polarisation

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  • JuanD. Carrillo
  • Micael Castanheira

Abstract

We develop a model of electoral competition in which two opportunistic candidates select their policy position and invest in quality. Policy positions are observed and, during the campaign, the press reveals some information about quality. We demonstrate that when information is imperfect, the Black-Downs median voter theorem fails to hold. For intermediate information levels, the unique equilibrium is such that candidates propose policies different from the median voter's bliss point. By contrast, convergence to the median occurs when quality is (almost) always or (almost) never revealed. We also show that a profit-maximising press may collect more information than socially optimal. Copyright � The Author(s). Journal compilation � Royal Economic Society 2008.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 118 (2008)
Issue (Month): 530 (07)
Pages: 845-874

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:118:y:2008:i:530:p:845-874

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  1. Torsten Persson & Gerard Roland & Guido Tabellini, . "Separation of Powers and Political Accountability," Working Papers 100, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
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  7. Caillaud, B. & Tirole, J., 1999. "Party governance and ideological bias," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 779-789, April.
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  9. Micael Castanheira, . "Why Vote for Losers?," Working Papers 125, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  10. Palfrey, Thomas R, 1984. "Spatial Equilibrium with Entry," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(1), pages 139-56, January.
  11. Kenneth Rogoff, 1987. "Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles," NBER Working Papers 2428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Navin Kartik & R. Preston McAfee, 2007. "Signaling Character in Electoral Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 852-870, June.
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  15. Castanheira, Micael & Crutzen, Benoît SY & Sahuguet, Nicolas, 2005. "Party Governance and Political Competition with an Application to the American Direct Primacy," CEPR Discussion Papers 4890, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. John E. Roemer, 1997. "Political-economic equilibrium when parties represent constituents: The unidimensional case," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 479-502.
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Cited by:
  1. Fabian Gouret & Guillaume Hollard & Stéphane Rossignol, 2011. "An empirical analysis of valence in electoral competition," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00867711, HAL.
  2. Osterloh, Steffen & Debus, Marc, 2012. "Partisan politics in corporate taxation," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 192-207.
  3. Luigi Marengo & Corrado Pasquali, 2010. "The construction of choice. A computational voting model," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 30(4), pages 3077-3087.
  4. Guillaume Hollard & Stéphane Rossignol, 2008. "An Alternative Approach to Valence Advantage in Spatial Competition," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 10(3), pages 441-454, 06.
  5. Giorgio Fagiolo & Lucia Alessi & Matteo Barigozzi & Marco Capasso, 2007. "On the distributional properties of household consumption expenditures. The case of Italy," LEM Papers Series 2007/24, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  6. Dewatripont, Mathias & Seabright, Paul, 2010. "Rational Crowd-Pleasing and Democratic Accountability," CEPR Discussion Papers 7660, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Matias Iaryczower & Andrea Mattozzi, 2012. "The pro-competitive effect of campaign limits in non-majoritarian elections," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 49(3), pages 591-619, April.
  8. Martin Gregor, 2013. "The Optimal Ballot Structure for Double-Member Districts," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp493, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economic Institute, Prague.
  9. repec:hal:journl:hal-00267218 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay & Manaswini Bhalla & Kalysan Chatterjee & Jaideep Roy, 2014. "Ideological Dissent in Downsian Politics," Discussion Papers 14-04, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
  11. Hummel, Patrick, 2012. "Deliberative democracy and electoral competition," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 646-667.
  12. Hummel, Patrick, 2010. "On the nature of equilibria in a Downsian model with candidate valence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 425-445, November.
  13. Xefteris, Dimitrios, 2013. "Equilibrium in a discrete Downsian model given a non-minimal valence advantage and linear loss functions," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 150-153.
  14. Castanheira, Micael & Nicodème, Gaëtan & Profeta, Paola, 2011. "On the political economics of tax reforms," CEPR Discussion Papers 8507, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Hummel, Patrick, 2010. "Flip-flopping from primaries to general elections," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(11-12), pages 1020-1027, December.
  16. Luigi Maregno & Corrado Pasquali, 2008. "A computational voting model," LEM Papers Series 2008/24, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  17. Raphael Boleslavsky & Christopher Cotton, 2012. "Information and Extremism in Elections," Working Papers 2013-04, University of Miami, Department of Economics.

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