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A Median Voter Theorem for Postelection Politics

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  • Dhammika Dharmapala

    (University of Connecticut)

  • Etienne Lehmann

    (University of Paris-2 Pantheon-Assas)

Abstract

We analyze a model of 'postelection politics', in which (unlike in the more common Downsian models of 'preelection politics') politicians cannot make binding commitments prior to elections. The game begins with an incumbent politician in office, and voters adopt reelection strategies that are contingent on the policies implemented by the incumbent. We generalize previous models of this type by introducing heterogeneity in voters' ideological preferences, and analyze how voters' reelection strategies constrain the policies chosen by a rent-maximizing incumbent. We first show that virtually any policy (and any feasible level of rent for the incumbent) can be sustained in a Nash equilibrium. Then, we derive a 'median voter theorem': the ideal point of the median voter, and the minimum feasible level of rent, are the unique outcomes in any strong Nash equilibrium. We then introduce alternative refinements that are less restrictive. In particular, Ideologically Loyal Coalition-proof equilibrium also leads uniquely to the median outcome.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Connecticut, Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 2003-47.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2003-47

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Keywords: Postelection politics; Median voter theorem; retrospective voting;

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  1. Bernheim, B. Douglas & Peleg, Bezalel & Whinston, Michael D., 1987. "Coalition-Proof Nash Equilibria I. Concepts," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 1-12, June.
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  7. Georges Casamatta, 2003. "The Political Power of the Retirees in a Two-Dimensional Voting Model," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 5(4), pages 571-591, October.
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  12. Carbonell-Nicolau, Oriol & Klor, Esteban F., 2003. "Representative democracy and marginal rate progressive income taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(5-6), pages 1137-1164, May.
  13. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
  14. Kenneth Rogoff & Anne Sibert, 1986. "Elections and Macroeconomic Policy Cycles," NBER Working Papers 1838, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  17. Roemer, John E., 1998. "Why the poor do not expropriate the rich: an old argument in new garb," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 399-424, December.
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