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Private polling in elections and voter welfare

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Author Info

  • Bernhardt, Dan
  • Duggan, John
  • Squintani, Francesco

Abstract

We study elections in which two candidates poll voters about their preferred policies before taking policy positions. In the essentially unique equilibrium, candidates who receive moderate signals adopt more extreme platforms than their information suggests, but candidates with more extreme signals may moderate their platforms. Policy convergence does not maximize voters' welfare. Although candidates' platforms diverge in equilibrium, they do not do so as much as voters would like. We find that the electorate always prefers less correlation in candidate signals, and thus private over public polling. Some noise in the polling technology raises voters' welfare.

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Bibliographic Info

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

Volume (Year): 144 (2009)
Issue (Month): 5 (September)
Pages: 2021-2056

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:144:y:2009:i:5:p:2021-2056

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

Related research

Keywords: Elections Platform divergence Spending caps Political campaigns Polling;

References

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  1. Osborne, Martin J & Slivinski, Al, 1996. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(1), pages 65-96, February.
  2. Andrea Prat, 2002. "Campaign Advertising and Voter Welfare," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(4), pages 999-1017.
  3. John Duggan, 2003. "Electoral Competition with Privately Informed Candidates," Theory workshop papers 505798000000000029, UCLA Department of Economics.
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  7. Paul Heidhues & Johan Lagerlöf, 2000. "Hiding Information in Electoral Competition," CIG Working Papers FS IV 00-06, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG), revised Feb 2002.
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  12. Meirowitz, Adam, 2005. "Polling games and information revelation in the Downsian framework," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 464-489, May.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Michalis Drouvelis & Alejandro Saporiti & Nicolaas J. Vriend, 2013. "Political Motivations and Electoral Competition: Equilibrium Analysis and Experimental Evidence," Working Papers 710, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
  2. Patrick Hummel, 2014. "Pre-election polling and third party candidates," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 42(1), pages 77-98, January.
  3. John Duggan, 2003. "Electoral Competition with Privately Informed Candidates," Theory workshop papers 505798000000000029, UCLA Department of Economics.
  4. Stefan Krasa & Mattias Polborn, 2009. "Political Competition between Differentiated Candidates," CESifo Working Paper Series 2560, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Stefan Krasa & Mattias Polborn, 2007. "Majority-efficiency and Competition-efficiency in a Binary Policy Model," CESifo Working Paper Series 1958, CESifo Group Munich.

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