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Can Ambiguity in Electoral Competition be Explained by Projection Effects in Voters' Perceptions?

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  • Thomas Jensen

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

Abstract

Studies in political science and psychology suggest that voters' perceptions of political positions depend on their personal views of the candidates. A voter who likes/dislikes a candidate will perceive his position as closer to/further from his own than it really is (projection). Clearly these effects should be most pronounced when candidate positions are ambiguous. Thus a generally well liked candidate will have an incentive to take an ambiguous position. In this paper we construct a simple model to see under which conditions this incentive survives in the strategic setting of electoral competition, even if voters dislike ambiguity per se.

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File URL: http://www.econ.ku.dk/english/research/publications/wp/2005/0525.pdf/
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 05-25.

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Length: 15 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:0525

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Keywords: electoral competition; ambiguity; voter perception; cognitive balance; projection;

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  1. Enriqueta Aragonés & Zvika Neeman, 1994. "Strategic ambiguity in electoral competition," Economics Working Papers 162, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Apr 1996.
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