IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Campaign War Chests, Entry Deterrence, and Voter Rationality


  • Dhammika Dharmapala


It is often claimed that the accumulation of "war chests" by incumbents deters entry by high-quality challengers in Congressional elections. This paper presents a game-theoretic analysis of the interaction between an incumbent, potential challengers, an interest group, and a representative (rational) voter, where the incumbent's "quality" (or "legislative effectiveness") is known to the interest group, but not to the voter or to potential challengers. Under certain conditions, a perfectly revealing equilibrium exists; the incumbent signals her quality by raising funds from the interest group to accumulate a war chest. The entry deterrence effect thus operates solely through the role of war chests in signaling incumbent quality. Copyright Blackwell Publishers Ltd 2002.

Suggested Citation

  • Dhammika Dharmapala, 2002. "Campaign War Chests, Entry Deterrence, and Voter Rationality," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(3), pages 325-350, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecopol:v:14:y:2002:i:3:p:325-350

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: link to full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Barro, Robert J & Gordon, David B, 1983. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural Rate Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(4), pages 589-610, August.
    2. Cargill, Thomas F & Hutchison, Michael M, 1991. "Political Business Cycles with Endogenous Election Timing: Evidence from Japan," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(4), pages 733-739, November.
    3. Ito, Takatoshi, 1991. "International impacts on domestic political economy: a case of Japanese general elections," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 10(1, Supple), pages 73-89, March.
    4. Ito, Takatoshi & Park, Jin Hyuk, 1988. "Political business cycles in the parliamentary system," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 233-238.
    5. Kenneth Rogoff & Anne Sibert, 1988. "Elections and Macroeconomic Policy Cycles," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(1), pages 1-16.
    6. Ito, Takatoshi, 1990. "The timing of elections and political business cycles in Japan," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 135-156.
    7. 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.
    8. Chappell, D. & Peel, D. A., 1979. "On the political theory of the business cycle," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 327-332.
    9. repec:cup:apsrev:v:76:y:1982:i:04:p:753-766_18 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Banks, Jeffrey S & Sobel, Joel, 1987. "Equilibrium Selection in Signaling Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 647-661, May.
    11. William D. Nordhaus, 1975. "The Political Business Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(2), pages 169-190.
    12. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1990. "Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 21-36, March.
    13. Harrington, Joseph E, Jr, 1993. "Economic Policy, Economic Performance, and Elections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 27-42, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


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

    Cited by:

    1. Sivan Frenkel, 2014. "Competence and ambiguity in electoral competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 159(1), pages 219-234, April.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    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:bla:ecopol:v:14:y:2002:i:3:p:325-350. 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: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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.