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Last minute policies and the incumbency advantage

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  • Elena Manzoni

    ()

  • Stefan P. Penczynski

Abstract

This paper models a purely informational mechanism behind the incumbency advantage. In a two-period electoral campaign with two policy issues, a specialized incumbent and an unspecialized, but possibly more competent challenger compete for election by voters who are heterogeneously informed about the state of the world. Due to the asymmetries in government responsibility between candidates, the incumbent's statement may convey information on the relevance of the issues to voters. In equilibrium, the incumbent sometimes strategically releases his statement early and thus signals the importance of his signature issue to the voters. We find that, since the incumbent's positioning on the issue reveals private information which the challenger can use in later statements, the incumbent's incentives to distort the campaign are decreasing in the quality of the incumbent, as previously documented by the empirical literature. However, we show that this implies a non-monotonicity in the distortions that arise in equilibrium.

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File URL: http://dipeco.economia.unimib.it/repec/pdf/mibwpaper229.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 229.

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Length: 26
Date of creation: Jan 2013
Date of revision: Jan 2013
Handle: RePEc:mib:wpaper:229

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Keywords: Incumbency advantage; electoral competition; information revelation; agenda;

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  1. Arnaud Dellis, 2009. "The Salient Issue of Issue Salience," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 11(2), pages 203-231, 04.
  2. Aidt, T.S. & Veiga, F.J. & Veiga, L.G., 2009. "Election Results and Opportunistic Policies: A New Test of the Rational Political Business Cycle Model," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0934, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  3. Roland Hodler & Simon Loertscher & Dominic Rohner, 2007. "Inefficient Policies and Incumbency Advantage," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 996, The University of Melbourne.
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