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Imperfectly informed voters and strategic extremism

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  • Enriqueta Aragones

    ()

  • Dimitrios Xefteris

    ()

Abstract

We analyze a unidimensional model of two-candidate electoral competition where voters have im- perfect information about the candidates' policy proposals, that is, voters cannot observe the exact policy proposals of the candidates but only which candidate offers the most leftist/rightist platform. We assume that candidates are purely office motivated and that one candidate enjoys a valence advan- tage over the other. We characterize the unique Sequential Equilibrium in very-weakly undominated strategies of the game. In this equilibrium the behavior of the two candidates tends to maximum extremism, due to the voters' lack of information. But it may converge or diverge depending on the size of the advantage. For small values of the advantage candidates converge to the extreme policy most preferred by the median and for large values of the advantage candidates strategies diverge: each candidate specializes in a different extreme policy. These results are robust to the introduction of a proportion of well informed voters. In this case the degree of extremism decreases when the voters become more informed.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper 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 938.13.

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Length: 53
Date of creation: 14 Oct 2013
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Handle: RePEc:aub:autbar:938.13

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Keywords: Downsian model; imperfect information; advantaged candidate; maximum differentiation;

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  1. Edward L. Glaeser & Giacomo A. M. Ponzetto & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2004. "Strategic Extremism: Why Republicans and Democrats Divide on Religious Values," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2044, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  2. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
  3. Marx, Leslie M. & Swinkels, Jeroen M., 2000. "Order Independence for Iterated Weak Dominance," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 324-329, May.
  4. Wittman, Donald, 1977. "Candidates with policy preferences: A dynamic model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 180-189, February.
  5. Enriqueta Aragonés & Dimitrios Xefteris, 2011. "Candidate quality in a Downsian Model with a Continuous Policy Space," Working Papers 529, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  6. Palfrey, Thomas R, 1984. "Spatial Equilibrium with Entry," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(1), pages 139-56, January.
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