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Ideologues: Explaining Partisanship and Persistence in Politics (and Elsewhere)

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  • Buehler, Benno
  • Kessler, Anke

Abstract

This paper provides an explanation for why political leaders may want to adopt ideological positions and maintain them over time even in the face of conflicting evidence. We study a dynamic framework in which politicians are better informed than the voting public about an underlying state of nature that determines the desirability of a given policy measure. The issue itself is non-partisan (everybody has the same policy preferences) but voters attach ideological labels to both candidates and available policy alternatives. We show that both sides may be caught in an ideology trap: because voters expect the perceived ideology of office holders to determine their political actions, politicians are tempted to act according to their perceived ideology, resulting in political failure.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7724.

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Date of creation: Mar 2010
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7724

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Related research

Keywords: Ideology; Partisanship; Polarization; Policy Persistence; Political Competition;

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  1. Mariano Tommasi, 1995. "Why Does it Take a Nixon to go to China?," UCLA Economics Working Papers 728, UCLA Department of Economics.
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  4. Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," Penn CARESS Working Papers ecf70d639d700dba5327ab0c8, Penn Economics Department.
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  15. Callander, Steven & Wilkie, Simon, 2007. "Lies, damned lies, and political campaigns," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 262-286, August.
  16. Keith Poole, 2007. "Changing minds? Not in Congress!," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 131(3), pages 435-451, June.
  17. Palfrey, Thomas R, 1984. "Spatial Equilibrium with Entry," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(1), pages 139-56, January.
  18. Steven Callander, 2008. "Political Motivations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(3), pages 671-697.
  19. Stephen Morris, 2001. "Political Correctness," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(2), pages 231-265, April.
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