Electoral Competition through Issue Selection
AbstractPolitics must tackle multiple issues at once. In a first-best world, political competition constrains parties to prioritize issues according to the voters' true concerns. In the real world, the opposite also happens: parties manipulate voter priorities by emphasizing issues selectively during the political campaign. This phenomenon, known as priming, should allow parties to pay less attention to the issues that they intend to mute. We develop a model of endogenous issue ownership in which two vote-seeking parties (i) invest to attract voters with "better" policy proposals and (ii) choose a communication campaign to focus voter attention on specific issues. We identify novel feedbacks between communication and investment. In particular, we find that stronger priming effects can backfire by constraining parties to invest more resources in all issues, including the ones they would otherwise intend to mute. We also identify under which conditions parties prefer to focus on their "historical issues" or to engage in issue stealing. Typically, the latter happens when priming effects are strong, and historical reputations differentiates parties less.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC) in its series UFAE and IAE Working Papers with number 903.12.
Date of creation: 12 Jun 2012
Date of revision:
party strategy; salience; issue selection and ownership; priming;
Other versions of this item:
- Aragonés, Enriqueta & Castanheira, Micael & Giani, Marco, 2012. "Electoral Competition through Issue Selection," CEPR Discussion Papers 9012, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Enriqueta Aragon�s & Micael Castanheira & Marco Giani, 2012. "Electoral Competition through Issue Selection," Working Papers 641, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
- D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
- H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-06-25 (All new papers)
- NEP-CDM-2012-06-25 (Collective Decision-Making)
- NEP-POL-2012-06-25 (Positive Political Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Enriqueta Aragones & Santiago Sanchez-Pages, 2010.
"The disadvantage of winning an election,"
ESE Discussion Papers
194, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
- Enriqueta Aragonès & Santiago Sánchez-Pagés, 2010. "The disadvantage of winning an election," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 811.10, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
- Aragonès, Enriqueta & Sánchez-Pagés, Santiago, 2010. "The disadvantage of winning an election," SIRE Discussion Papers 2010-21, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
- Enriqueta Aragonès & Santiago Sánchez-Pagés, 2010. "The Disadvantage of Winning an Election," Working Papers 439, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
- Josep M. Colomer & Humberto Llavador, 2008.
"An Agenda-Setting Model of Electoral Competition,"
331, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
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- Denter, Philipp, 2013. "A theory of communication in political campaigns," Economics Working Paper Series 1302, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
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