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Contest with Attack and Defence: Does Negative Campaigning Increase or Decrease Voters' Turnout?

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  • raphael soubeyran

    (GREQAM)

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    Abstract

    We present a general model of two players contest with two types of efforts. Contrary to the classical models of contest, where each player chooses a unique effort, and where the outcome depends on the efforts of all the players, contestants are allowed to reduce the effort of the opponent. Defence increases one's chance of winning while attack annihilates the defence of the opponent. This model has many applications like political campaigning, wars, competition among lobbies, job promotion competitions, or sport contests. We study the general model of contest with attacks and defence and propose an application to negative political campaigns, where two candidates arbitrate between disparaging their opponent or enhancing their own image. We propose sufficient conditions for the existence and uniqueness of a symmetric Nash equilibrium of the contest game. In the application, we contribute to the empirically debated question dealing with the effect of attack on voters turnout, and show that the conclusion depends on the distribution of voters sensitivity to defence and attack. Furthermore, contrary to the literature, we show that an underdog candidate may be less aggressive than his opponent.

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    File URL: http://128.118.178.162/eps/pe/papers/0510/0510018.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Public Economics with number 0510018.

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    Length: 30 pages
    Date of creation: 18 Oct 2005
    Date of revision: 23 Oct 2005
    Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwppe:0510018

    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 30
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    Web page: http://128.118.178.162

    Related research

    Keywords: Contest; Rent-seeking; Negative Campaigning; Turnout; Sabotage.;

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    1. Christine Harbring & Bernd Irlenbusch & Matthias Kräkel & Reinhard Selten, 2004. "Sabotage in Asymmetric Contests – An Experimental Analysis," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse12_2004, University of Bonn, Germany.
    2. Barry Nalebuff & Roni Shachar, 1997. "Follow The Leader: Theory And Evidence On Political Participation," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm57, Yale School of Management.
    3. Lazear, Edward P, 1989. "Pay Equality and Industrial Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 561-80, June.
    4. Kong-Pin Chen, 2003. "Sabotage in Promotion Tournaments," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(1), pages 119-140, April.
    5. Cesar Martinelli & Helios Herrera & David K. Levine, 2004. "Voting Leaders and Voting Participation," Econometric Society 2004 Latin American Meetings 319, Econometric Society.
    6. Konrad, Kai A, 2000. "Sabotage in Rent-Seeking Contests," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(1), pages 155-65, April.
    7. Harrington, Joseph Jr. & Hess, Gregory D., 1996. "A Spatial Theory of Positive and Negative Campaigning," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 209-229, December.
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