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Ideology as Opinion: A Spatial Model of Common-Value Elections

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  • Joseph McMurray

Abstract

Spatial election literature attributes voters' political differences to irreconcilable conflicts of interest. Alternatively, voters may merely hold differing beliefs regarding which policies best promote the public interest, as in the classic common-value model of Condorcet (1785). This paper shows how a spatial version of the common-value model explains empirical patterns of public opinion, ideology, electoral margins, and participation that are puzzling from the standard perspective, suggesting that voters may implicitly view politics as a contest between truth and error. If so, this has important consequences for political analysis.

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph McMurray, 2017. "Ideology as Opinion: A Spatial Model of Common-Value Elections," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 108-140, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmic:v:9:y:2017:i:4:p:108-40
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/mic.20160040
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    Cited by:

    1. Pietro Ortoleva & Erik Snowberg, 2015. "Overconfidence in Political Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(2), pages 504-535, February.
    2. Herrera, Helios & Llorente-Saguer, Aniol & McMurray, Joseph C., 2018. "Information Aggregation and Turnout in Proportional Representation: A Laboratory Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 13280, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • 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

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