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Repeated Elections with Asymmetric Information


  • John Duggan


An infinite sequence of elections with no term limits is modelled. In each period a challenger with privately known preferences is randomly drawn from the electorate to run against the incumbent, and the winner chooses a policy outcome in a one-dimensional issue space. One theorem is that there exists an equilibrium in which the median voter is decisive: an incumbent wins re-election if and only if his most recent policy choice gives the median voter a payoff at least as high as he would expect from a challenger. The equilibrium is symmetric, stationary, and the behavior of voters is consistent with both retrospective and prospective voting. A second theorem is that, in fact, it is the only equilibrium possessing the latter four conditions - decisiveness of the median voter is implied by them. Copyright Blackwell Publishers Ltd 2000.

Suggested Citation

  • John Duggan, 2000. "Repeated Elections with Asymmetric Information," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(2), pages 109-135, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecopol:v:12:y:2000:i:2:p:109-135

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Cameron, L. & Crosby, M., 1999. "It's the Economy Stupid?," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 699, The University of Melbourne.
    2. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135-135.
    3. Andrew Leigh, 2005. "Deriving Long-Run Inequality Series from Tax Data," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 81(s1), pages 58-70, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. John Duggan & Mark Fey, 2006. "Repeated Downsian electoral competition," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 35(1), pages 39-69, December.
    2. Kalandrakis, Tasos, 2009. "A Reputational Theory of Two-Party Competition," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 4(4), pages 343-378, December.
    3. Cecilia Testa, 2004. "Party Polarization and Electoral Accountability," Econometric Society 2004 Latin American Meetings 130, Econometric Society.
    4. Richard Weelden, 2015. "The welfare implications of electoral polarization," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 45(4), pages 653-686, December.
    5. Duggan, John & Fey, Mark, 2005. "Electoral competition with policy-motivated candidates," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 490-522, May.
    6. Casamatta, Georges & De Paoli, Caroline, 2004. "Ex Post Inefficiency in a Political Agency Model," CEPR Discussion Papers 4275, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Georges Casamatta & Helmuth Cremer & Philippe De Donder, 2010. "Repeated electoral competition over nonlinear income tax schedules," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 35(4), pages 535-574, October.
    8. Casamatta Georges & Sand-Zantman Wilfried, 2006. "Citizen Candidacy With Asymmetric Information," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-41, February.
    9. Jan Klingelhöfer, 2012. "Lexicographic Voting," CESifo Working Paper Series 3764, CESifo Group Munich.
    10. Katsuya Kobayashi & Hideo Konishi, 2016. "Endogenous party structure," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 317-351, November.
    11. Banks, Jeffrey S. & Duggan, John, 2008. "A Dynamic Model of Democratic Elections in Multidimensional Policy Spaces," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 3(3), pages 269-299, October.
    12. César Martinelli & John Duggan, 2014. "The Political Economy of Dynamic Elections: A Survey and Some New Results," Working Papers 1403, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
    13. Edoardo Grillo, 2014. "Reference Dependence and Politicians' Credibility," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 353, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
    14. Mohamed, Issam A.W., 2010. "Tyrannical Greed and National Disintegration of the Sudanese Nation," MPRA Paper 31812, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Câmara, Odilon & Bernhardt, Dan, 2015. "Learning about challengers," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 181-206.
    16. Machado, Fabiana, 2011. "Inequality, Uncertainty, and Redistribution," MPRA Paper 35665, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Callander, Steven & Wilkie, Simon, 2007. "Lies, damned lies, and political campaigns," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 262-286, August.
    18. Forand, Jean Guillaume, 2014. "Two-party competition with persistent policies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 152(C), pages 64-91.
    19. Jean Guillaume Forand & John Duggan, 2013. "Markovian Elections," Working Papers 1305, University of Waterloo, Department of Economics, revised Oct 2013.
    20. Grillo, Edoardo, 2016. "The hidden cost of raising voters’ expectations: Reference dependence and politicians’ credibility," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 126-143.
    21. John Duggan, 2013. "A Folk Theorem for Repeated Elections with Adverse Selection," Wallis Working Papers WP64, University of Rochester - Wallis Institute of Political Economy.
    22. Bernhardt, Dan & Campuzano, Larissa & Squintani, Francesco & Câmara, Odilon, 2009. "On the benefits of party competition," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 685-707, July.
    23. Bernhardt, Dan & Dubey, Sangita & Hughson, Eric, 2004. "Term limits and pork barrel politics," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(12), pages 2383-2422, December.

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