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How the Electoral College Influences Campaigns and Policy: The Probability of Being Florida

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  • David Stromberg

Abstract

This paper analyzes how US presidential candidates should allocate resources across states to maximize the probability of winning the election, by developing and estimating a probabilistic-voting model of political competition under the Electoral College system. Actual campaigns act in close agreement with the model. There is a 0.9 correlation between equilibrium and actual presidential campaign visits across states, both in 2000 and 2004. The paper shows how presidential candidate attention is affected by the states' number of electoral votes, forecasted state-election outcomes, and forecast uncertainty. It also analyzes the effects of a direct national popular vote for president.

Suggested Citation

  • David Stromberg, 2008. "How the Electoral College Influences Campaigns and Policy: The Probability of Being Florida," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 769-807, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:98:y:2008:i:3:p:769-807
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.98.3.769
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. The electoral college and candidate attention
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2008-09-24 17:38:00

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    Cited by:

    1. Jared Barton & Marco Castillo & Ragan Petrie, 2014. "What Persuades Voters? A Field Experiment on Political Campaigning," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 124(574), pages 293-326, February.
    2. Denter, Philipp & Sisak, Dana, 2015. "Do polls create momentum in political competition?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 1-14.
    3. Subhasish Chowdhury & Dan Kovenock & Roman Sheremeta, 2013. "An experimental investigation of Colonel Blotto games," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 52(3), pages 833-861, April.
    4. Daron Acemoglu & Camilo García-Jimeno & James A. Robinson, 2015. "State Capacity and Economic Development: A Network Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(8), pages 2364-2409, August.
    5. Nicholas Bloom & Carol Propper & Stephan Seiler & John Van Reenen, 2015. "The Impact of Competition on Management Quality: Evidence from Public Hospitals," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(2), pages 457-489.
    6. Drometer, Marcus & Méango, Romuald, 2015. "Electoral cycles, partisan effects and U.S. immigration policies," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113052, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    7. Albert Solé Ollé, 2010. "The Determinants of the Regional Allocation of Infrastructure Investment in Spain," Chapters,in: The Political Economy of Inter-Regional Fiscal Flows, chapter 12 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    8. Finan, Frederico S. & Mazzocco, Maurizio, 2016. "Electoral Incentives and the Allocation of Public Funds," IZA Discussion Papers 9623, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Conconi, Paola & DeRemer, David R. & Kirchsteiger, Georg & Trimarchi, Lorenzo & Zanardi, Maurizio, 2017. "Suspiciously timed trade disputes," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 57-76.
    10. Vincenzo Galasso, 2014. "The role of political partisanship during economic crises," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 158(1), pages 143-165, January.
    11. Xiangjun Ma & John McLaren, 2018. "A Swing-State Theorem, with Evidence," NBER Working Papers 24425, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Deborah Fletcher & Steven Slutsky, 2011. "Campaign allocations under probabilistic voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 146(3), pages 469-499, March.
    13. Marcelin Joanis, 2011. "The road to power: partisan loyalty and the centralized provision of local infrastructure," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 146(1), pages 117-143, January.
    14. Markus Drometer & Romuald Méango, 2017. "Electoral Cycles, Partisan Effects and U.S. Naturalization Policies," ifo Working Paper Series 239, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    15. Galasso, Vincenzo & Nannicini, Tommaso, 2011. "Competing on Good Politicians," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 105(01), pages 79-99, February.
    16. Battaglini, Marco, 2014. "A dynamic theory of electoral competition," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 9(2), May.
    17. Leopoldo Fergusson & James A. Robinson & Ragnar Torvik & Juan F. Vargas, 2016. "The Need for Enemies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 126(593), pages 1018-1054, June.
    18. Patrick Hummel, 2011. "Proportional versus winner-take-all electoral vote allocations," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 148(3), pages 381-393, September.
    19. M. Roth, 2011. "Resource allocation and voter calculus in a multicandidate election," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 148(3), pages 337-351, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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    1. How the Electoral College Influences Campaigns and Policy: The Probability of Being Florida (AER 2008) in ReplicationWiki
    2. Economic Logic blog

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