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Projection effects and strategic ambiguity in electoral competition

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  • Thomas Jensen

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Abstract

Theories from psychology suggest that voters' perceptions of political positions depend on their non-policy related attitudes towards the candidates. A voter who likes (dislikes) a candidate will perceive the candidate's position as closer to (further from) his own than it really is. This is called projection. If voters' perceptions are not counterfactual and voting is based on perceived policy positions then projection gives a generally liked candidate an incentive to be ambiguous. In this paper we construct and analyze a formal model to investigate under which conditions this incentive survives in the strategic setting of electoral competition, even if voters dislike ambiguity per se.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11127-009-9449-4
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

Volume (Year): 141 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (October)
Pages: 213-232

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Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:141:y:2009:i:1:p:213-232

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100332

Related research

Keywords: Electoral competition; Ambiguity; Voter perception; Projection; D72; D83;

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  1. Alesina, Alberto & Cukierman, Alex, 1990. "The Politics of Ambiguity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(4), pages 829-50, November.
  2. Enriqueta Aragon├ęs & Zvika Neeman, 1994. "Strategic ambiguity in electoral competition," Economics Working Papers 162, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Apr 1996.
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Cited by:
  1. Burkhard Schipper & Hee Yeul Woo, 2014. "Political Awareness, Microtargeting of Voters, and Negative Electoral Campaigning," Working Papers 148, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  2. Burkhard Schipper & Hee Yeul Woo, 2012. "Political Awareness and Microtargeting of Voters in Electoral Competition," Working Papers 124, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.

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