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Partisan politics and election failure with ignorant voters

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  • Gul, Faruk
  • Pesendorfer, Wolfgang

Abstract

We analyze candidate competition when some voters do not observe a candidate's policy choice. Voters have a personality preference when both candidates offer the same policy. In equilibrium, the candidate with a personality advantage may get elected with a partisan policy even though his opponent's policy is preferred by all voters. The departure from the Downsian prediction is most pronounced when candidates have a weak policy preference and care mostly about winning the election. In that case, uninformed voters choose the candidate with the preferred personality even if electing this candidate implies a lower payoff on average.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Theory.

Volume (Year): 144 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 146-174

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:144:y:2009:i:1:p:146-174

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622869

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Keywords: Electoral competition Information aggregation Voter ignorance;

References

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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. Aragones, Enriqueta & Palfrey, Thomas. R., 2000. "Mixed Equilibrium in a Downsian Model With a Favored Candidate," Working Papers 1102, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  3. John Duggan, 2003. "Electoral Competition with Privately Informed Candidates," Theory workshop papers 505798000000000029, UCLA Department of Economics.
  4. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
  5. Timothy Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1994. "Voting Behavior and Information Aggregation in Elections with Private Information," Discussion Papers 1117, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  6. Wittman, Donald, 1977. "Candidates with policy preferences: A dynamic model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 180-189, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Lind, Jo Thori & Rhoner, Dominic, 2011. "Knowledge is Power: A Theory of Information, Income, and Welfare Spending," Memorandum 26/2011, Oslo University, Department of Economics.

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