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Electoral Competition with Informed and Uninformed Voters

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  • Baron, David P.

Abstract

I present a model of electoral competition in which candidates raise campaign contributions by choosing policies that benefit interest groups and then expend those contributions to influence voters who are uninformed about the policies. Informed voters, however, vote based on those policies, so candidates face a trade-off between choosing a policy to generate funds to attract the uninformed vote and choosing a policy to attract the informed vote. Electoral equilibria are characterized for two categories of policies: particularistic and collective. In the case of particularistic policies, the equilibrium policies of the candidates are separated if the proportion of uninformed voters is sufficiently high, and the degree of separation is an increasing function of that proportion. The model is extended to include the public financing of elections and incumbency advantages. For the case of collective policies, the candidates locate at the median of the ideal points of the informed voters, and contributions are zero.

Suggested Citation

  • Baron, David P., 1994. "Electoral Competition with Informed and Uninformed Voters," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 88(1), pages 33-47, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:apsrev:v:88:y:1994:i:01:p:33-47_09
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