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Campaign Advertising and Voter Welfare

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  • Prat, A.

    (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)

Abstract

This paper investigates the role of campaign advertising and the opportunity of legal restrictions on it. An electoral race is modeled as a signalling game with three classes of players: a continuum of voters, two candidates, and one interest group. The group has non-verifiable insider information on the candidates' valence and, on the basis of this information, offers a contribution to each candidate in exchange for a favorable policy position. Candidates spend the contributions they receive on non-directly informative advertising. This paper shows that: (1) A separating equilibrium exists in which the group contributes to a candidate only if the insider information about that candidate is positive; (2) Although voters are fully rational, a ban on campaign advertising can be welfare-improving; and (3) Split contributions may arise in equilibrium (and should be prohibited).

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research in its series Discussion Paper with number 1997-118.

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Date of creation: 1997
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:kubcen:1997118

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Web page: http://center.uvt.nl

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Keywords: Elections; campaign contributions; advertising; voter welfare; split contributions;

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References

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  1. Becker, Gary S & Murphy, Kevin M, 1993. "A Simple Theory of Advertising as a Good or Bad," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(4), pages 941-64, November.
  2. Franklin M. Fisher & John J. McGowan, 1979. "Advertising and Welfare: Comment," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(2), pages 726-727, Autumn.
  3. Timothy Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1994. "Voting Behavior and Information Aggregation in Elections with Private Information," Discussion Papers 1117, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  4. Cukierman, Alex, 1991. " Asymmetric Information and the Electoral Momentum of Public Opinion Polls," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 70(2), pages 181-213, May.
  5. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1986. "Price and Advertising Signals of Product Quality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 796-821, August.
  6. Cho, In-Koo & Kreps, David M, 1987. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(2), pages 179-221, May.
  7. Lohmann, Susanne, 1994. "Information Aggregation through Costly Political Action," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 518-30, June.
  8. Potters, J.J.M. & Sloof, R. & Winden, F.A.A.M. van, 1997. "Campaign Expenditures, Contributions and Direct Endorsements: The Strategic Use of Information and Money to Influence Voter Behavior," Discussion Paper 1997-27, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  9. Lopez, Rigoberto A & Pagoulatos, Emilio, 1996. "Trade Protection and the Role of Campaign Contributions in U.S. Food and Tobacco Industries," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 34(2), pages 237-48, April.
  10. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, 1990. "A Simple Theory of Advertising as a Good," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 58, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  11. Butters, Gerard R, 1977. "Equilibrium Distributions of Sales and Advertising Prices," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 465-91, October.
  12. Baron, David P, 1989. "Service-Induced Campaign Contributions and the Electoral Equilibrium," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(1), pages 45-72, February.
  13. Mailath George J. & Okuno-Fujiwara Masahiro & Postlewaite Andrew, 1993. "Belief-Based Refinements in Signalling Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 241-276, August.
  14. Avinash Dixit & Victor Norman, 1978. "Advertising and Welfare," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(1), pages 1-17, Spring.
  15. Rebecca Morton & Charles Cameron, 1992. "Elections And The Theory Of Campaign Contributions: A Survey And Critical Analysis," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(1), pages 79-108, 03.
  16. Bagwell, Kyle & Ramey, Garey, 1994. "Coordination Economies, Advertising, and Search Behavior in Retail Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 498-517, June.
  17. Paul R. Milgrom, 1981. "Good News and Bad News: Representation Theorems and Applications," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 12(2), pages 380-391, Autumn.
  18. Kihlstrom, Richard E & Riordan, Michael H, 1984. "Advertising as a Signal," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(3), pages 427-50, June.
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