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The Effect of Candidate Quality on Electoral Equilibrium: An Experimental Study

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  • Enriqueta Aragonès
  • Thomas R. Palfrey

Abstract

When two candidates of different quality compete in a one dimensional policy space, the equilibrium outcomes are asymmetric and do not correspond to the median. There are three main effects. First, the better candidate adopts more centrist policies than the worse candidate. Second, the equilibrium is statistical, in the sense that it predicts a probability distribution of outcomes rather than a single degenerate outcome. Third, the equilibrium varies systematically with the level of uncertainty about the location of the median voter. We test these three predictions using laboratory experiments, and find strong support for all three. We also observe some biases and show that they can be explained by Quantal Response Equilibrium.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 59.

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Date of creation: Sep 2003
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Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:59

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References

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  1. Aragones, Enriqueta & Palfrey, Thomas. R., 2000. "Mixed Equilibrium in a Downsian Model With a Favored Candidate," Working Papers, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences 1102, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  2. Jacob K. Goeree & Charles A. Holt, 2000. "Ten Little Treasures of Game Theory and Ten Intuitive Contradictions," Virginia Economics Online Papers 333, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
  3. Richard D. Mckelvey & Thomas R. Palfrey, 1996. "A Statistical Theory Of Equilibrium In Games," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 186-209, 06.
  4. McKelvey Richard D. & Palfrey Thomas R., 1995. "Quantal Response Equilibria for Normal Form Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 6-38, July.
  5. Ansolabehere, Stephen & Snyder, James M, Jr, 2000. " Valence Politics and Equilibrium in Spatial Election Models," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 103(3-4), pages 327-36, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Enriqueta Aragonés & Dimitrios Xefteris, 2011. "Candidate quality in a Downsian Model with a Continuous Policy Space," Working Papers, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics 529, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  2. Michalis Drouvelis & Alejandro Saporiti & Nicolaas J. Vriend, 2011. "Political Motivations and Electoral Competition: Equilibrium Analysis and Experimental Evidence," The School of Economics Discussion Paper Series, Economics, The University of Manchester 1119, Economics, The University of Manchester.
  3. Aragones, Enriqueta & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2003. "Spatial Competition Between Two Candidates of Different Quality: The Effects of Candidate Ideology and Private Information," Working Papers, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences 1169, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  4. Thomas R. Palfrey, 2005. "Laboratory Experiments in Political Economy," Working Papers, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies. 91, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  5. Enriqueta Aragonès & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2004. "Electoral Competition Between Between Two Candidates of Different Quality: The Effects of Candidate Ideology and Private Information," Working Papers, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics 60, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.

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