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Information and Extremism in Elections

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  • Raphael Boleslavsky

    (Department of Economics, University of Miami)

  • Christopher Cotton

    (Department of Economics, University of Miami)

Abstract

We show that informative political campaigns can increase political extremism and decrease voter welfare. We present a model of elections in which candidate ideology is strategically selected prior to a campaign which reveals information about candidate quality. Documented means by which campaigns can harm voters are not present in our model; special interest groups, fundraising, and biased or private information are not part of the analysis. Even under these optimistic assumptions, informative campaigns have negative consequences. Our results have implications regarding media coverage, the number of debates, and campaign finance reform.

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File URL: http://bus.miami.edu/_assets/files/repec/WP2013-04.pdf
File Function: First version, 2012
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Miami, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2013-04.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: 04 Nov 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mia:wpaper:2013-04

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Keywords: Campaigns; elections; persuasion; policy divergence; probabilistic voting;

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References

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  1. Bengt Holmstrom, 1979. "Moral Hazard and Observability," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 74-91, Spring.
  2. Prat, Andrea, 2003. "The Wrong Kind of Transparency," CEPR Discussion Papers 3859, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Ingemar Hansson & Charles Stuart, 1984. "Voting competitions with interested politicians: Platforms do not converge to the preferences of the median voter," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 44(3), pages 431-441, January.
  4. Giuseppe Moscarini & Marco Ottaviani, 1998. "Price Competition for an Informed Buyer," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1199, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  5. Prat, A., 1997. "Campaign Advertising and Voter Welfare," Discussion Paper 1997-118, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
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  10. Aragones, Enriqueta & Palfrey, Thomas. R., 2000. "Mixed Equilibrium in a Downsian Model With a Favored Candidate," Working Papers 1102, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
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  14. Andrea Mattozzi & Antonio Merlo, 2007. "The Transparency of Politics and the Quality of Politicians," PIER Working Paper Archive 07-008, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  15. Nicolas Sahuguet & Nicola Persico, 2006. "Campaign spending regulation in a model of redistributive politics," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 95-124, 05.
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  17. Kittsteiner, Thomas & Eyster, Erik, 2007. "Party platforms in electoral competition with heterogeneous constituencies," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 2(1), pages 41-70, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Motz, Nicolas, 2012. "Who emerges from smoke-filled rooms? Political parties and candidate selection," MPRA Paper 44462, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Feb 2013.

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