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Campaign contests

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  • Denter, Philipp

Abstract

I develop a formal model of political campaigns in which candidates choose how to distribute their resources over two different policy issues. I assume that campaigning on an issue has two simultaneous effects, both rooted in social and cognitive psychology: It increases the perceived quality of the advertising candidate in that issue (persuasion) and it makes the issue more salient (priming), thereby increasing the issue’s perceived importance to the voters. I show that, unlike in the extant literature, interior pure strategy equilibria, in which every candidate campaigns on all issues, exist, if persuasion is sufficiently effective. However, candidates “specialize” by spending more than their contender on the issue, in which they hold a comparative advantage. Further, I show that an issue receives more aggregate spending, if it becomes more important or if voters’ opinions on candidates’ qualities in the issue become weaker. A candidate increases his vote share during the campaign contest, if he has a comparative advantage on the issue that receives more aggregate spending. The contest may therefore be biased in one candidate’s favor and an a priori less popular candidate might be the actual odds on favorite.

Suggested Citation

  • Denter, Philipp, 2020. "Campaign contests," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 127(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:127:y:2020:i:c:s001429212030091x
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2020.103459
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    1. Pau Balart & Agustin Casas & Orestis Troumpounis, 2019. "Technological change, campaign spending and polarization," Working Papers 269238020, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Electoral competition; Campaign spending; Contests; Priming; Advertising;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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