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The Politics of Persuasion When Voters Are Rational


  • Schultz, Christian


A democratic society is considered where the voters, but not the politicians, are uncertain about how the economy works. The parties therefore have a strategic motive to misinform the voters. Will the voters learn how the economy works and will the policy decisions be efficient? It turns out that the degree of polarization of the political parties is crucial. If the parties are very polarized, voters will not trust the parties and the policy will not reflect how the economy actually works, whereas the opposite is true if the parties are less polarized. Hence, there is a cost to polarization. Copyright 1995 by The editors of the Scandinavian Journal of Economics.

Suggested Citation

  • Schultz, Christian, 1995. " The Politics of Persuasion When Voters Are Rational," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(3), pages 357-368, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:scandj:v:97:y:1995:i:3:p:357-68

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Carmen M. Reinhart & Graciela L. Kaminsky, 1999. "The Twin Crises: The Causes of Banking and Balance-of-Payments Problems," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 473-500, June.
    2. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1997. "Destabilizing effects of exchange-rate escape clauses," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1-2), pages 61-77, August.
    3. Bensaid, Bernard & Jeanne, Olivier, 1997. "The instability of fixed exchange rate systems when raising the nominal interest rate is costly," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(8), pages 1461-1478, August.
    4. Claessens, Stijn, 1991. "Balance of payments crises in an optimal portfolio model," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 81-101, January.
    5. Douglas W. Diamond & Philip H. Dybvig, 2000. "Bank runs, deposit insurance, and liquidity," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Win, pages 14-23.
    6. Flood, Robert P. & Garber, Peter M., 1984. "Collapsing exchange-rate regimes : Some linear examples," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1-2), pages 1-13, August.
    7. Grilli, Vittorio U., 1986. "Buying and selling attacks on fixed exchange rate systems," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1-2), pages 143-156, February.
    8. Carmen M. Reinhart & Sara Calvo, 1996. "Capital Flows to Latin America: Is There Evidence of Contagion Effects?," Peterson Institute Press: Chapters,in: Guillermo A. Calvo & Morris Goldstein & Eduard Hochreiter (ed.), Private Capital Flows to Emerging Markets After the Mexican Crisis, pages 151-171 Peterson Institute for International Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Voß, Achim & Lingens, Jörg, 2014. "What's the damage? Environmental regulation with policy-motivated bureaucrats," CAWM Discussion Papers 67, University of Münster, Center of Applied Economic Research Münster (CAWM).
    2. Schultz, Christian, 2002. "Policy biases with voters' uncertainty about the economy and the government," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 487-506, March.
    3. Heidhues, Paul & Lagerlof, Johan, 2003. "Hiding information in electoral competition," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 48-74, January.
    4. Allcott, Hunt & Lederman, Daniel & Lopez, Ramon, 2006. "Political institutions, inequality, and agricultural growth : the public expenditure connection," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3902, The World Bank.
    5. Tilman Klumpp, 2011. "Populism, Partisanship, and the Funding of Political Campaigns," Emory Economics 1107, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta).
    6. Ascensión Andina-Díaz, 2016. "Information in elections: Do third inflexible candidates always promote truthful behavior?," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 307-339, August.
    7. Mike Felgenhauer, 2012. "Revealing information in electoral competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 153(1), pages 55-68, October.
    8. Joungseok Park, 2016. "Rational Skeptics: On the Strategic Communication of Scientific Data," Working Papers 16-19, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior


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