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The Revelation Of Information Through The Electoral Process: An Exploratory Analysis

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  • Joseph E. Harrington

Abstract

This paper investigates the incentives for candidates to make informative campaign speeches concerning their policy intentions. Electoral competition is modeled as a game of communication in which candidates'policy preferences are private information and they compete by making pre-electoral policy announcements. An equilibrium is shown to exist in which candidates reveal their true policy intentions. We find that campaign messages are more likely to be informative, the less powerful is the elected office, the more attractive are candidates'opportunities outside of office, and the more uniform are candidates'prior beliefs as to the median voter's preferred policy. Copyright 1992 Blackwell Publishers Ltd..

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  • Joseph E. Harrington, 1992. "The Revelation Of Information Through The Electoral Process: An Exploratory Analysis," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(3), pages 255-276, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecopol:v:4:y:1992:i:3:p:255-276
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Joseph Farrell, 1985. "Credible Neologisms in Games of Communication," Working papers 386, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
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    6. 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.
    7. Banks, Jeffrey S., 1990. "A model of electoral competition with incomplete information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 309-325, April.
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    9. Crawford, Vincent P & Sobel, Joel, 1982. "Strategic Information Transmission," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1431-1451, November.
    10. Steven A. Matthews, 1989. "Veto Threats: Rhetoric in a Bargaining Game," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(2), pages 347-369.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Kroszner, Randall S & Stratmann, Thomas, 2005. "Corporate Campaign Contributions, Repeat Giving, and the Rewards to Legislator Reputation," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(1), pages 41-71, April.
    3. John Chilton, 1998. "Strategic poll responses when elections create mandates," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 94(1), pages 21-47, January.
    4. 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.
    5. Westermark, Andreas, 2004. "Extremism, campaigning and ambiguity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 421-452, May.
    6. Westermark, Andreas, 2001. "Campaigning and Ambiguity when Parties Cannot Make Credible Election Promises," Working Paper Series 568, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    7. Randall S. Kroszner & Thomas Stratmann, 1999. "Does Political Ambiguity Pay? Corporate Campaign contributions and the Rewards to Legislator Reputation," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 155, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
    8. Enriqueta Aragones & Thomas R. Palfrey & Andrew Postlewaite, 2005. "Reputation and Rhetoric in Elections," PIER Working Paper Archive 05-021, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
    9. Austen-Smith, David & Banks, Jeffrey S., 2002. "Costly signaling and cheap talk in models of political influence," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 263-280, June.
    10. Austen-Smith, David & Banks, Jeffrey S., 2000. "Cheap Talk and Burned Money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 1-16, March.
    11. Ascensión Andina, 2004. "Asymmetric Information And Electoral Campaigns: The Monitoring Role Of Media," Working Papers. Serie AD 2004-32, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
    12. Heidhues, Paul & Lagerlof, Johan, 2003. "Hiding information in electoral competition," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 48-74, January.
    13. Todd Kendall, 2010. "Strategic political commentary," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 142(1), pages 151-175, January.
    14. Enriqueta Aragonés & Andrew Postlewaite, 1999. "Ambiguity in election games," Economics Working Papers 364, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.

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