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Bandwagon, underdog, and political competition: The uni-dimensional case

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  • Woojin Lee

    ()
    (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

Abstract

The present paper studies the Hotelling-Downs and Wittman-Roemer models of two-party competition when voter conformism is present and the policy space is uni-dimensional. We consider two types of voter conformism, bandwagon and underdog, and study their effects on the political equilibrium of the two models. Even if voter conformism is present, the Hotelling- Downs parties propose an identical policy at the equilibrium, which is equal to a strict Condorcet winner. Thus voter conformism, both bandwagon and underdog, has no effect on the Hotelling- Downs political equilibrium. In the Wittman-Roemer model, parties propose differentiated equilibrium policies, and the extent of such policy differentiation depends on the degree of voter conformism. In general, the stronger the bandwagon effect is, the more differentiated the equilibrium policies are. The opposite holds when the underdog effect is present; an increasing underdog effect mitigates the policy differentiation of the two parties, although the effect is not large. We also find multiple Wittman-Roemer equilibria when the bandwagon effect is sufficiently strong. JEL Categories: D3, D7, H2

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics in its series UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers with number 2008-07.

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Date of creation: Mar 2008
Date of revision: Apr 2008
Handle: RePEc:ums:papers:2008-07

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Keywords: bandwagon effect; underdog effect; Hotelling-Downs model; Wittman- Roemer model;

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  1. John E. Roemer, 1999. "The Democratic Political Economy of Progressive Income Taxation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(1), pages 1-20, January.
  2. Nalebuff, B. & Caplin, A., 1992. "Competition Among Institutions," Discussion Papers 1992_36, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  3. Ignacio OrtuÓo-OrtÎn, 1997. "A spatial model of political competition and proportional representation," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 427-438.
  4. Ignacio Ortuño Ortín & John E. Roemer, 2000. "Endogenous Party Formation And The Effect Of Income Distribution On Policy," Working Papers. Serie AD 2000-06, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  5. Bikhchandani, Sushil & Hirshleifer, David & Welch, Ivo, 1992. "A Theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom, and Cultural Change in Informational Cascades," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 992-1026, October.
  6. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
  7. John E. Roemer, 1997. "Political-economic equilibrium when parties represent constituents: The unidimensional case," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 479-502.
  8. George A. Akerlof, 1997. "Social Distance and Social Decisions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1005-1028, September.
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