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The Salient Issue of Issue Salience

  • ARNAUD DELLIS

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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Article provided by Association for Public Economic Theory in its journal Journal of Public Economic Theory.

Volume (Year): 11 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (04)
Pages: 203-231

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jpbect:v:11:y:2009:i:2:p:203-231
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