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Extremism, campaigning and ambiguity

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  • Westermark, Andreas

Abstract

This paper studies a model of how political parties use resources for campaigning to inform voters. We show existence of equilibrium under mild assumptions for an arbitrary number of parties. The main result is that if the parties are more extreme, then they spend less resources on campaigning (on average), compared with moderate parties. The reason is the following. Consider voters that are informed by one party only, say party 1. If both parties move closer to each other, then the actual and expected platform moves closer to the indifferent voters peak. By concavity of preferences, the increase in payoff of voting for the party that informed is bigger than the increase in payoff of voting for the other party. Thus, the previously indifferent voter now strictly prefers party 1. The effect makes parties gain more votes by informing when parties are moderate. Since spending increases, voters are (on average) more informed when parties are moderates.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Games and Economic Behavior.

Volume (Year): 47 (2004)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 421-452

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Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:47:y:2004:i:2:p:421-452

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622836

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References

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  1. Ignacio Ortuno Ortin & Christian Schultz, 2000. "Public Funding of Political Parties," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0735, Econometric Society.
  2. Martin J. Osborne & Ariel Rubinstein, 1994. "A Course in Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262650401, December.
  3. Banks, Jeffrey S. & Sobel, Joel., 1985. "Equilibrium Selection in Signaling Games," Working Papers 565, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  4. In-Koo Cho & David M. Kreps, 1997. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," Levine's Working Paper Archive 896, David K. Levine.
  5. Joseph E. Harrington, 1992. "The Revelation Of Information Through The Electoral Process: An Exploratory Analysis," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(3), pages 255-276, November.
  6. Martin J. Osborne, 1995. "Spatial Models of Political Competition under Plurality Rule: A Survey of Some Explanations of the Number of Candidates and the Positions They Take," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 28(2), pages 261-301, May.
  7. Larry Samuelson, 1984. "Electoral equilibria with restricted strategies," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 307-327, January.
  8. Cukierman, Alex & Alesina, Alberto, 1990. "The Politics of Ambiguity," Scholarly Articles 4552530, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Harrington, Joseph Jr. & Hess, Gregory D., 1996. "A Spatial Theory of Positive and Negative Campaigning," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 209-229, December.
  10. Schultz, Christian, 1996. "Polarization and Inefficient Policies," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(2), pages 331-44, April.
  11. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1996. "Electoral Competition and Special Interest Politics," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(2), pages 265-86, April.
  12. Harrington Jr. , Joseph E., 1993. "The Impact of Reelection Pressures on the Fulfillment of Campaign Promises," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 71-97, January.
  13. Chappell, Henry W, Jr, 1994. " Campaign Advertising and Political Ambiguity," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 79(3-4), pages 281-303, June.
  14. Banks, Jeffrey S., 1990. "A model of electoral competition with incomplete information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 309-325, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Pablo Amorós & M. Puy, 2013. "Issue convergence or issue divergence in a political campaign?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 155(3), pages 355-371, June.
  2. Elie Appelbaum & Eliakim Katz, 2005. "Political extremism in the presence of a free rider problem," Working Papers 2005_3, York University, Department of Economics.
  3. Westermark, Andreas, 2001. "Campaigning and Ambiguity when Parties Cannot Make Credible Election Promises," Working Paper Series 568, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  4. Elie Appelbaum, 2006. "Strategic extremism," Working Papers 2006_12, York University, Department of Economics.

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