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Extremism, Campaigning and Ambiguity

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Author Info

  • Westermark, A.

Abstract

This paper studies a model of how political parties use resources for campaigning to inform voters. We show existence of equilibrium under mild assumptions for an arbitrary number of parties. The main result is that if the parties are more extreme, then they spend less resources on campaigning (on average), compared with moderate parties. The reason is the following. Consider voters that are informed by one party only, say party 1. If both parties move closer to each other, then the actual and expected platform moves closer to the indifferent voters peak. By concavity of preferences, the increase in payoff of voting for the party that informed is bigger than the increase in payoff of voting for the other party. Thus, the previously indifferent voter now strictly prefers party 1. The effect makes parties gain more votes by informing when parties are moderate. Since spending increases, voters are (on average) more informed when parties are moderates.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Uppsala - Working Paper Series in its series Papers with number 1999:9.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fth:uppaal:1999:9

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Postal: UPPSALA UNIVERSITY, DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMICS, S-751 20 UPPSALA SWEDEN.
Phone: + 46 18 471 25 00
Fax: + 46 18 471 14 78
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Web page: http://www.nek.uu.se/
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Keywords: GAME THEORY ; POLITICS ; ELECTIONS;

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References

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  1. 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.
  2. : Christian Schultz, . "Polarization and Inefficient Policies," Discussion Papers 93-16, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  3. Christian Schultz & Ignacio Ortuño Ortín, 2000. "Public Funding Of Political Parties," Working Papers. Serie AD 2000-27, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  4. Alberto Alesina & Alex Cukierman, 1987. "The Politics of Ambiguity," NBER Working Papers 2468, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Banks, Jeffrey S., 1990. "A model of electoral competition with incomplete information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 309-325, April.
  6. Chappell, Henry W, Jr, 1994. " Campaign Advertising and Political Ambiguity," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 79(3-4), pages 281-303, June.
  7. Martin J Osborne & Ariel Rubinstein, 2009. "A Course in Game Theory," Levine's Bibliography 814577000000000225, UCLA Department of Economics.
  8. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1996. "Electoral Competition and Special Interest Politics," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(2), pages 265-86, April.
  9. Joseph E. Harrington, 1992. "The Revelation Of Information Through The Electoral Process: An Exploratory Analysis," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(3), pages 255-276, November.
  10. Harrington Jr. , Joseph E., 1993. "The Impact of Reelection Pressures on the Fulfillment of Campaign Promises," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 71-97, January.
  11. Harrington, Joseph Jr. & Hess, Gregory D., 1996. "A Spatial Theory of Positive and Negative Campaigning," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 209-229, December.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Westermark, Andreas, 2001. "Campaigning and Ambiguity when Parties Cannot Make Credible Election Promises," Working Paper Series 568, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  2. Elie Appelbaum & Eliakim Katz, 2007. "Political extremism in the presence of a free rider problem," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 133(1), pages 31-40, October.
  3. Elie Appelbaum, 2006. "Strategic extremism," Working Papers 2006_12, York University, Department of Economics.
  4. Pablo Amorós & M. Puy, 2013. "Issue convergence or issue divergence in a political campaign?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 155(3), pages 355-371, June.

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