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The Mean Voter Theorem: Necessary and Sufficient Conditions for Convergent Equilibrium

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  • Norman Schofield

Abstract

Formal models of elections have emphasized the convergence of party leaders towards the centre of the electoral distribution. This paper attempts to resolve the apparent disparity between the formal result and the perception of political divergence by considering a model incorporating valence. Valence can be interpreted as the non-policy basis of political judgement made by the electorate concerning the quality of political contenders. The theorem presented here shows that there is a necessary condition for convergence. The condition involves the difference in party valences and the electoral variance. When the condition fails, the low-valence parties will be forced to adopt policy positions far from the electoral centre. The inference appears to be substantiated by an empirical model of the Israel election in 1996. Copyright 2007, Wiley-Blackwell.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1467-937X.2007.00444.x
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Review of Economic Studies.

Volume (Year): 74 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 965-980

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Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:74:y:2007:i:3:p:965-980

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Cited by:
  1. Azrieli, Yaron, 2009. "Characterization of multidimensional spatial models of elections with a valence dimension," MPRA Paper 14513, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Solé-Ollé, Albert & Viladecans-Marsal, Elisabet, 2013. "Do political parties matter for local land use policies?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 42-56.
  3. Zakharov, Alexei & Fantazzini, Dean, 2009. "Economic Factors in a Model of Voting: The Case of The Netherlands, Great Britain, and Israel," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 14(2), pages 57-73.
  4. Haldun Evrenk, 2009. "Three-candidate competition when candidates have valence: the base case," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 32(1), pages 157-168, January.
  5. Norman Schofield, 2013. "The “probability of a fit choice”," Review of Economic Design, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 129-150, June.
  6. John Maloney & Andrew C. Pickering, 2013. "Party Activists, Campaign Funding, and the Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(1), pages 210-238, February.
  7. Ashworth, Scott & Bueno de Mesquita, Ethan, 2009. "Elections with platform and valence competition," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 191-216, September.
  8. Haldun Evrenk & Dmitriy Kha, 2011. "Three-candidate spatial competition when candidates have valence: stochastic voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 147(3), pages 421-438, June.
  9. Norman Schofield, 2007. "Modelling Politics," ICER Working Papers 33-2007, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
  10. Rafael Salas & Juan Rodríguez, 2013. "Popular support for social evaluation functions," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 40(4), pages 985-1014, April.
  11. Azrieli, Yaron, 2011. "Axioms for Euclidean preferences with a valence dimension," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(4-5), pages 545-553.
  12. Norman Schofield & Ugur Ozdemir, 2009. "Formal Models of Elections and Political Bargaining," Czech Economic Review, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, vol. 3(3), pages 207-242, October.
  13. Jon Eguia, 2013. "On the spatial representation of preference profiles," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 52(1), pages 103-128, January.
  14. Zakharov, Alexei, 2008. "A Spatial Voting Model of Russia," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 10(2), pages 75-90.
  15. Norman Schofield & Alexei Zakharov, 2010. "A stochastic model of the 2007 Russian Duma election," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 142(1), pages 177-194, January.
  16. Eguia, Jon X., 2011. "Foundations of spatial preferences," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 200-205, March.
  17. 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.
  18. Guido Cataife & Norman Schofield, 2007. "Electoral Oscillations in Argentina.," ICER Working Papers 34-2007, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
  19. Jorge M. Streb & Gustavo Torrens, 2011. "La economía política de la política fiscal," CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. 455, Universidad del CEMA.

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