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An agenda-setting model of electoral competition

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Abstract

This paper presents a model of electoral competition focusing on the formation of the public agenda. An incumbent government and a challenger party in opposition compete in elections by choosing the issues that will key out their campaigns. Giving salience to an issue implies proposing an innovative policy proposal, alternative to the status-quo. Parties trade off the issues with high salience in voters’ concerns and those with broad agreement on some alternative policy proposal. Each party expects a higher probability of victory if the issue it chooses becomes salient in the voters’ decision. But remarkably, the issues which are considered the most important ones by a majority of votes may not be given salience during the electoral campaign. An incumbent government may survive in spite of its bad policy performance if there is no sufficiently broad agreement on a policy alternative. We illustrate the analytical potential of the model with the case of the United States presidential election in 2004.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 1070.

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Date of creation: Feb 2008
Date of revision: Sep 2010
Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1070

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Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

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Keywords: Agenda; elections; political competition; issues; salience; agreement.;

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  1. Pablo Amoros & M. Socorro Puy, 2008. "Indicators of Electoral Victory," Working Papers 2008-8, Universidad de Málaga, Department of Economic Theory, Málaga Economic Theory Research Center.
  2. Riccardo Puglisi & Josep Colomer, 2005. "Issues, cleavages and parties: a critical review of the literature," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/10383, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  3. AMOROS, Pablo & PUY, M. Socorro, 2007. "Dialogue or issue divergence in the political campaign?," CORE Discussion Papers 2007084, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  4. Krasa, Stefan & Polborn, Mattias, 2010. "The binary policy model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(2), pages 661-688, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Enriqueta Aragonès & Micael Castanheira & Marco Giani, 2012. "Electoral Competition through Issue Selection," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 903.12, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  2. Burkhard Schipper & Hee Yeul Woo, 2012. "Political Awareness and Microtargeting of Voters in Electoral Competition," Working Papers 124, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  3. Burkhard Schipper & Hee Yeul Woo, 2014. "Political Awareness, Microtargeting of Voters, and Negative Electoral Campaigning," Working Papers 148, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.

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