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Political Competition between Differentiated Candidates

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  • Stefan Krasa
  • Mattias Polborn

Abstract

We introduce a framework of electoral competition in which voters have general preferences over candidates’ characteristics and policies. Candidates’ immutable characteristics (such as gender, race or previously committed policy positions) are exogenously differentiated, while candidates can choose any policy for the remaining issues to maximize their winning probability. Voters have general preferences over the vectors of candidate characteristics and policies, and vote sincerely. Candidates are uncertain about the distribution of voter preferences. We characterize a condition on voter preferences (satisfied in most existing models) under which candidates’ equilibrium policies generically converge. In contrast, for voter preferences that violate this condition, we construct a class of models in which policy divergence arises in the unique and strict Nash equilibrium. As a normative criterion, we define competition-efficiency and provide conditions under which the equilibrium is or is not competition-efficient.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2560.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2560

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Keywords: multidimensional policy; voting; issue ownership; normative analysis of political competition;

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References

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  1. Martin J. Osborne & Al Slivinksi, 1995. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," Department of Economics Working Papers 1995-01, McMaster University.
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  17. T. Groseclose, 2007. "‘One and a Half Dimensional’ Preferences and Majority Rule," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, Springer, vol. 28(2), pages 321-335, February.
  18. John Patty, 2007. "Generic difference of expected vote share and probability of victory maximization in simple plurality elections with probabilistic voters," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, Springer, vol. 29(1), pages 149-173, July.
  19. Stefan Krasa & Mattias Polborn, 2010. "Competition between Specialized Candidates," CESifo Working Paper Series, CESifo Group Munich 2930, CESifo Group Munich.
  20. Kenneth Shepsle & Barry Weingast, 1981. "Structure-induced equilibrium and legislative choice," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 503-519, January.
  21. Martin J. Osborne, 1995. "Spatial Models of Political Competition under Plurality Rule: A Survey of Some Explanations of the Number of Candidates and the Positions They Take," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 28(2), pages 261-301, May.
  22. 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.
  23. Krasa, Stefan & Polborn, Mattias, 2010. "The binary policy model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 145(2), pages 661-688, March.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Stefan Krasa & Mattias Polborn, 2014. "Social Ideology and Taxes in a Differentiated Candidates Framework," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 104(1), pages 308-22, January.
  2. Stefan Krasa & Mattias Polborn, 2010. "Competition between Specialized Candidates," CESifo Working Paper Series, CESifo Group Munich 2930, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Stefan Krasa & Mattias Polborn, 2012. "Elites or Masses? A Structural Model of Policy Divergence, Voter Sorting and Apparent Polarization in U.S. Presidential Elections, 1972-2008," CESifo Working Paper Series, CESifo Group Munich 3752, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Azrieli, Yaron, 2011. "Axioms for Euclidean preferences with a valence dimension," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(4-5), pages 545-553.
  5. Marcin Dziubinski & Jaideep Roy, 2008. "Electoral Competition in 2-Dimensional Ideology Space with Unidimensional Commitment," CEDI Discussion Paper Series, Centre for Economic Development and Institutions(CEDI), Brunel University 08-19, Centre for Economic Development and Institutions(CEDI), Brunel University.
  6. Krasa, Stefan & Polborn, Mattias, 2010. "The binary policy model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 145(2), pages 661-688, March.

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