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Platform Divergence, Political Efficiency and the Median Voter Theorem

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  • Carrillo, Juan D
  • Castanheira, Micael

Abstract

The Paper analyses a standard Downsian model of election with two opportunistic parties. We assume that, after choosing their ideological position but before the election takes place, parties can affect the quality of their platforms by exerting some unobservable effort. When voters either (almost) always or (almost) never observe the resulting quality before the election, the standard Median Voter Theorem holds. For the more general case of imperfect observability of quality, however, we show that parties may optimally deviate from the median voter’s bliss point as an implicit commitment to exert high effort (and therefore obtain a high-quality platform). The Paper thus argues that extremist parties are endogenously more committed to their ideas than moderate parties. Moreover, the extra quality implied by the divergence of parties will sometimes offset their worse ideology proposed, in which case the voters’ welfare under divergence is greater than under convergence of platforms. Last, we endogenize the amount of information revealed to voters by assuming that a profit maximizing press collects the news about the quality of parties and sells it to the electorate. We show that the press may collect an amount of information that is excessively high from a social viewpoint.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3180.

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Date of creation: Jan 2002
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3180

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Keywords: median voter theorem; moral hazard; party competition;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Micael Castanheira & Benoît Crutzen & Nicolas Sahuguet, 2010. "The Impact of Party Organization on Electoral Outcomes," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 0(4), pages 677-695.
  2. Fabian Gouret & Guillaume Hollard & Stéphane Rossignol, 2011. "An empirical analysis of valence in electoral competition," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00867711, HAL.
  3. Francesco Caselli & Tom Cunningham & Massimo Morelli & Inés Moreno de Barreda, 2012. "Signalling, Incumbency Advantage, and Optimal Reelection Rules," CEP Discussion Papers dp1122, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  4. Caselli, Francesco & Cunningham, Tom & Morelli, Massimo & Moreno de Barreda, Inés, 2012. "Signalling, Incumbency Advantage, and Optimal Reelection Thresholds," CEPR Discussion Papers 8832, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Guillaume Hollard & Stéphane Rossignol, 2008. "An Alternative Approach to Valence Advantage in Spatial Competition," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 10(3), pages 441-454, 06.
  6. Castanheira, Micael & Crutzen, Benoît SY & Sahuguet, Nicolas, 2005. "Party Governance and Political Competition with an Application to the American Direct Primacy," CEPR Discussion Papers 4890, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Guillaume Hollard & Stéphane Rossignol, 2008. "An alternative approach of valence advantage in spatial competition," Post-Print hal-00267218, HAL.

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