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Projection Effects and Strategic Ambiguity in Electoral Competition

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  • Thomas Jensen

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

Abstract

Theories from psychology suggest that voters' perceptions of political positions depend on their non-policy related attitudes towards the candidates. A voter who likes (dislikes) a candidate will perceive the candidate's position as closer to (further from) his own than it really is. This is called projection. If voters' perceptions are not counterfactual and voting is based on perceived policy positions then projection gives a generally liked candidate an incentive to be ambiguous. In this paper we construct and analyze a formal model to investigate under which conditions this incentive survives in the strategic setting of electoral competition, even if voters dislike ambiguity per se.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 07-12.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:0712

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Keywords: electoral competition; ambiguity; voter perception; cognitive consistency; 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.
  2. Alberto Alesina & Alex Cukierman, 1987. "The Politics of Ambiguity," NBER Working Papers 2468, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Burkhard Schipper & Hee Yeul Woo, 2014. "Political Awareness, Microtargeting of Voters, and Negative Electoral Campaigning," Working Papers 148, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  2. Burkhard Schipper & Hee Yeul Woo, 2012. "Political Awareness and Microtargeting of Voters in Electoral Competition," Working Papers 124, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.

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