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Campaign Finance Levels as Coordinating Signals in Three-way, Experimental Elections

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  • T. Reitz
  • R. Myerson
  • R. Weber

Abstract

If (often costly) election campaigns are simply advertising, they do not increase social welfare directly. Given this, should we limit campaign expenditures? We propose that costly campaigns can inform voters about the strength of candidates. This may increase welfare indirectly by helping voters avoid coordination failures. In laboratory elections, we study campaign finance levels as coordinating signals and compare them with our earlier work on polls. Both coordinate majority voters effectively, allowing them to stop Condorcet losers from winning. Finance levels were rational in that the total benefits of coordination exceeded the costs. Further, benefits of typical incremental contributions exceeded costs ex-post, while the next typical increment's benefits would not have. Copyright 1998 Blackwell Publishers Ltd..

Suggested Citation

  • T. Reitz & R. Myerson & R. Weber, 1998. "Campaign Finance Levels as Coordinating Signals in Three-way, Experimental Elections," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(3), pages 185-218, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecopol:v:10:y:1998:i:3:p:185-218
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    Cited by:

    1. Igerseim, Herrade & Baujard, Antoinette & Laslier, Jean-François, 2016. "La question du vote. Expérimentations en laboratoire et In Situ," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 92(1-2), pages 151-189, Mars-Juin.
    2. Arnaud Dellis & Sean D’Evelyn & Katerina Sherstyuk, 2011. "Multiple votes, ballot truncation and the two-party system: an experiment," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 37(2), pages 171-200, July.
    3. Granić, Đura-Georg, 2017. "The problem of the divided majority: Preference aggregation under uncertainty," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 133(C), pages 21-38.
    4. repec:spr:infosf:v:5:y:2003:i:1:d:10.1023_a:1022002107255 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Mehmet Ekmekci, 2007. "Campaigns as Coordination Devices," 2007 Meeting Papers 302, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    6. Ekmekci, Mehmet, 2009. "Manipulation through political endorsements," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(3), pages 1227-1248, May.
    7. Cesar Martinelli & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2017. "Communication and Information in Games of Collective Decision: A Survey of Experimental Results," Working Papers 1065, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science.
    8. Andonie, Costel & Kuzmics, Christoph, 2012. "Pre-election polls as strategic coordination devices," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 681-700.
    9. Christoph Kuzmics & Daniel Rodenburger, 2018. "A case of evolutionary stable attainable equilibrium in the lab," Graz Economics Papers 2018-05, University of Graz, Department of Economics.

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