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When Does It Take a Nixon to Go to China?

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  • Cukierman, Alex
  • Tommasi, Mariano

Abstract

Substantial policy changes, like market-oriented reforms by populist parties and steps towards peace by 'hawks,' are sometimes implemented by 'unlikely' parties. To account for such episodes, this paper develops a framework in which incumbent politicians have better information about the state of the world than voters. The incumbent is unable to credibly transmit all this information since voters are also imperfectly informed about his ideology. The paper identifies conditions under which an incumbent party's electoral prospects increase the more atypical the policy it proposes. Popular support for a policy, or its 'credibility,' depends on the policymaker-policy pair. Copyright 1998 by American Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • 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 180-197, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:88:y:1998:i:1:p:180-97
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games

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