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The Salient Issue of Issue Salience

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  • ARNAUD DELLIS

Abstract

This paper proposes a model where the set of issues that are decisive in an election (i.e., the set of salient issues) is endogenous. The model takes into account a key feature of the policy-making process, namely, that the decision-maker faces time and budget constraints that prevent him from addressing all of the issues that are on the agenda. We show that this feature creates a rationale for a policy-motivated decision-maker to manipulate his policy choice in order to influence which issues will be salient in the next election. We identify three motivations for the decision-maker to manipulate his policy choice for salience purposes. One is to make salient an issue on which he has an electoral advantage. A second motivation is to defuse the salience of an issue on which he is electorally weak, which is accomplished by either implicitly committing to a policy outcome or triggering a change of salient issue for the challenger. A third motivation is to induce the opposition party to nominate a candidate who, if elected, will implement a policy that the incumbent decision maker finds more palatable. Copyright © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc..

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  • Arnaud Dellis, 2009. "The Salient Issue of Issue Salience," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 11(2), pages 203-231, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jpbect:v:11:y:2009:i:2:p:203-231
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    Cited by:

    1. Caterina Gennaioli, 2010. "Go Divisive or Not? How Political Campaigns Affect Turnout," CESifo Working Paper Series 3298, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Christopher S. Cotton & Arnaud Déllis, 2016. "Informational Lobbying and Agenda Distortion," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 32(4), pages 762-793.
    3. Roland Hodler, 2011. "Elections and the strategic use of budget deficits," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 148(1), pages 149-161, July.
    4. Ying Chen & Hülya Eraslan, 2017. "Dynamic Agenda Setting," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 1-32, May.
    5. Elena Manzoni & Stefan P. Penczynski, 2012. "Last Minute Policies and the Incumbency Advantage," CESifo Working Paper Series 3773, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. Hodler, Roland & Loertscher, Simon & Rohner, Dominic, 2010. "Inefficient policies and incumbency advantage," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(9-10), pages 761-767, October.
    7. Arnaud Dellis & Mandar Oak, 2016. "Overlobbying and Pareto-improving Agenda Constraint," School of Economics Working Papers 2016-05, University of Adelaide, School of Economics.

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