IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/aea/aejmic/v7y2015i1p165-207.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Information and Extremism in Elections

Author

Listed:
  • Raphael Boleslavsky
  • Christopher Cotton

Abstract

We model an election in which parties nominate candidates with observable policy preferences prior to a campaign that produces information about candidate quality, a characteristic independent of policy. Informative campaigns lead to greater differentiation in expected candidate quality, which undermines policy competition. In equilibrium, as campaigns become more informative, candidates become more extreme. We identify conditions under which the costs associated with extremism dominate the benefits of campaign information. Informative political campaigns increase political extremism and can decrease voter welfare. Our results have implications for media coverage, the number of debates, and campaign finance reform. (JEL D72, D83)

Suggested Citation

  • Raphael Boleslavsky & Christopher Cotton, 2015. "Information and Extremism in Elections," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 165-207, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmic:v:7:y:2015:i:1:p:165-207
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/mic.20130006
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/mic.20130006
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aej/mic/ds/0701/2013-0006_ds.zip
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Alberto F. Alesina & Richard T. Holden, 2008. "Ambiguity and Extremism in Elections," NBER Working Papers 14143, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Andrea Mattozzi & Antonio Merlo, 2007. "The Transparency of Politics and the Quality of Politicians," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 311-315, May.
    3. Potters, Jan & Sloof, Randolph & van Winden, Frans, 1997. "Campaign expenditures, contributions and direct endorsements: The strategic use of information and money to influence voter behavior," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 1-31, February.
    4. Andrea Prat, 2005. "The Wrong Kind of Transparency," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 862-877, June.
    5. Andrea Prat, 2002. "Campaign Advertising and Voter Welfare," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(4), pages 999-1017.
    6. Eyster, Erik & Kittsteiner, Thomas, 2007. "Party platforms in electoral competition with heterogeneous constituencies," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 2(1), pages 41-70, March.
    7. Stephen Coate, 2004. "Political Competition with Campaign Contributions and Informative Advertising," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(5), pages 772-804, September.
    8. repec:cup:apsrev:v:77:y:1983:i:01:p:142-157_24 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Moscarini, Giuseppe & Ottaviani, Marco, 2001. "Price Competition for an Informed Buyer," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 101(2), pages 457-493, December.
    10. repec:cup:apsrev:v:92:y:1998:i:02:p:401-411_21 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Bengt Holmstrom, 1979. "Moral Hazard and Observability," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 74-91, Spring.
    12. Dan Bernhardt & Odilon Câmara & Francesco Squintani, 2011. "Competence and Ideology," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(2), pages 487-522.
    13. Palda, Filip & Palda, Kristian, 1998. "The Impact of Campaign Expenditures on Political Competition in the French Legislative Elections of 1993," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 94(1-2), pages 157-174, January.
    14. Bengt Holmström, 1999. "Managerial Incentive Problems: A Dynamic Perspective," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 169-182.
    15. Aragones, Enriqueta & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2002. "Mixed Equilibrium in a Downsian Model with a Favored Candidate," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 131-161, March.
    16. JuanD. Carrillo & Micael Castanheira, 2008. "Information and Strategic Political Polarisation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(530), pages 845-874, July.
    17. Bengt Holmstrom, 1999. "Managerial Incentive Problems: A Dynamic Perspective," NBER Working Papers 6875, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Herrera, Helios & Levine, David K. & Martinelli, César, 2008. "Policy platforms, campaign spending and voter participation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 501-513, April.
    19. Nicolas Sahuguet & Nicola Persico, 2006. "Campaign spending regulation in a model of redistributive politics," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 28(1), pages 95-124, May.
    20. repec:cup:apsrev:v:87:y:1993:i:02:p:267-285_09 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Ingemar Hansson & Charles Stuart, 1984. "Voting competitions with interested politicians: Platforms do not converge to the preferences of the median voter," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 44(3), pages 431-441, January.
    22. Mathias Dewatripont & Ian Jewitt & Jean Tirole, 1999. "The Economics of Career Concerns, Part I: Comparing Information Structures," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 183-198.
    23. repec:cup:apsrev:v:103:y:2009:i:04:p:570-587_99 is not listed on IDEAS
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Motz, Nicolas, 2012. "Who emerges from smoke-filled rooms? Political parties and candidate selection," MPRA Paper 44462, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Feb 2013.
    2. Câmara, Odilon & Bernhardt, Dan, 2015. "Learning about challengers," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 181-206.
    3. Archishman Chakraborty & Parikshit Ghosh, 2016. "Character Endorsements and Electoral Competition," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 277-310, May.
    4. Marina Dodlova & Galina Zudenkova, 2016. "Incumbents' Performance and Political Polarization," CESifo Working Paper Series 5728, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Alonso, Ricardo & Câmara, Odilon, 2016. "Political disagreement and information in elections," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 390-412.
    6. Christopher Cotton & Cheng Li, 2016. "Clueless Politicians," Working Papers 1341, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    7. Shadmehr, Mehdi, 2015. "Extremism in revolutionary movements," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 97-121.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:aejmic:v:7:y:2015:i:1:p:165-207. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Michael P. Albert). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.