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False Alarm? Terror Alerts and Reelection

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  • Roland Hodler
  • Simon Loertscher
  • Dominic Rohner

Abstract

We study a game with asymmetric information to analyze whether an incumbent can improve his reelection prospects using distorted terror alerts. The voters’ preferred candidate depends on the true terror threat level, and the voters are rational and therefore aware of the incumbent’s incentive to distort alerts. In equilibrium, a moderately “Machiavellian” incumbent reports low and high threat levels truthfully, but issues the same distorted alert for a range of intermediate threat levels. He thereby ensures his reelection for some threat levels at which he would not be reelected under full information.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The University of Melbourne in its series Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number 995.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mlb:wpaper:995

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Keywords: Terror alerts; voting and elections; signalling; political economics;

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  1. Gregory D. Hess & Athanasios Orphanides, 2001. "War and Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(4), pages 776-810, August.
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  6. Hodler, Roland & Loertscher, Simon & Rohner, Dominic, 2010. "Inefficient policies and incumbency advantage," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(9-10), pages 761-767, October.
  7. Potters, Jan & van Winden, Frans, 1992. " Lobbying and Asymmetric Information," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 74(3), pages 269-92, October.
  8. Cukierman, Alex & Tommasi, Mariano, 1998. "When Does It Take a Nixon to Go to China?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 180-97, March.
  9. Edward L. Glaeser, 2002. "The Political Economy of Hatred," NBER Working Papers 9171, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Wolfers Justin & Zitzewitz Eric, 2004. "Experimental Political Betting Markets and the 2004 Election," The Economists' Voice, De Gruyter, vol. 1(2), pages 1-8, October.
  11. Hess, Gregory D & Orphanides, Athanasios, 1995. "War Politics: An Economic, Rational-Voter Framework," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 828-46, September.
  12. Keith J. Crocker & John Morgan, 1998. "Is Honesty the Best Policy? Curtailing Insurance Fraud through Optimal Incentive Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(2), pages 355-375, April.
  13. Lacker, Jeffrey M & Weinberg, John A, 1989. "Optimal Contracts under Costly State Falsification," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1345-63, December.
  14. Wittman, Donald, 1989. "Why Democracies Produce Efficient Results," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1395-1424, December.
  15. Giovanni Maggi & Andres Rodriguez-Clare, 1995. "Costly Distortion of Information in Agency Problems," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(4), pages 675-689, Winter.
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