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Competition between Specialized Candidates

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  • Stefan Krasa
  • Mattias Polborn

Abstract

We develop a formal model in which the government provides public goods in different policy fields for its citizens. We start from the basic premise that two office-motivated candidates have differential capabilities in different policy fields, and compete by proposing how to allocate government resources to those fields.The model has a unique equilibrium that differs substantially from the standard median-voter model. While candidates compete for the support of a moderate voter type, this cutoff voter differs from the expected median voter. Moreover, no voter type except the cutoff voter is indifferent between the candidates in equilibrium. The model also predicts that candidates respond to changes in the preferences of voters in a very rigid way. We also analyze under which conditions candidates choose to strengthen the issue in which they have a competence advantage, and when they rather compensate for their weakness.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2930.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2930

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Related research

Keywords: issue ownership; differentiated candidates; policy divergence;

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References

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  1. Gans, Joshua S. & Smart, Michael, 1996. "Majority voting with single-crossing preferences," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 219-237, February.
  2. Krasa, Stefan & Polborn, Mattias K., 2012. "Political competition between differentiated candidates," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 249-271.
  3. Lindbeck, Assar & Weibull, Jorgen W., 1993. "A model of political equilibrium in a representative democracy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 195-209, June.
  4. Steven Callander, 2005. "Electoral Competition in Heterogeneous Districts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(5), pages 1116-1145, October.
  5. Martinelli, Cesar, 2001. " Elections with Privately Informed Parties and Voters," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 108(1-2), pages 147-67, July.
  6. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1997. "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 85-114, February.
  7. Osborne, Martin J & Slivinski, Al, 1996. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(1), pages 65-96, February.
  8. Stefan Krasa & Mattias Polborn, 2007. "Majority-efficiency and Competition-efficiency in a Binary Policy Model," CESifo Working Paper Series 1958, CESifo Group Munich.
  9. Aragones, Enriqueta & Palfrey, Thomas. R., 2000. "Mixed Equilibrium in a Downsian Model With a Favored Candidate," Working Papers 1102, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  10. Ansolabehere, Stephen & Snyder, James M, Jr, 2000. " Valence Politics and Equilibrium in Spatial Election Models," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 103(3-4), pages 327-36, June.
  11. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
  12. Gautier, P. & Soubeyran, R., 2006. "Political Cycles : Issue Ownership and the Opposition Advantage," Working Papers MOISA 200613, UMR MOISA : Marchés, Organisations, Institutions et Stratégies d'Acteurs : CIHEAM-IAMM, CIRAD, INRA, Montpellier SupAgro, IRD - Montpellier, France.
  13. Palfrey, Thomas R, 1984. "Spatial Equilibrium with Entry," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(1), pages 139-56, January.
  14. Spence, Michael, 1974. "Competitive and optimal responses to signals: An analysis of efficiency and distribution," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 296-332, March.
  15. 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, vol. 28(2), pages 261-301, May.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Thomas Jensen, 2013. "Elections, Information, and State-Dependent Candidate Quality," Discussion Papers 13-03, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  2. Stefan Krasa & Mattias Polborn, 2011. "Social Ideology and Taxes in a Differentiated Candidates Framework," CESifo Working Paper Series 3503, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Krasa, Stefan & Polborn, Mattias K., 2012. "Political competition between differentiated candidates," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 249-271.
  4. Jon Eguia, 2013. "On the spatial representation of preference profiles," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 52(1), pages 103-128, January.
  5. 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 3752, CESifo Group Munich.

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