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Learning about challengers

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  • Câmara, Odilon
  • Bernhardt, Dan

Abstract

We examine a political agency problem in repeated elections where an incumbent runs against a challenger from the opposing party, whose policy preferences are unknown by voters. We first ask: do voters benefit from attracting a pool of challengers with more moderate ideologies? When voters and politicians are patient, moderating the ideology distribution of centrist and moderate politicians (those close to the median voter) reduces voter welfare by reducing an extreme incumbent's incentives to compromise. We then ask: do voters benefit from informative signals about a challenger's true ideology? We prove that giving voters informative, but sufficiently noisy, signals always harm voters, because they make it harder for incumbents to secure re-election.

Suggested Citation

  • Câmara, Odilon & Bernhardt, Dan, 2015. "Learning about challengers," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 181-206.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:90:y:2015:i:c:p:181-206
    DOI: 10.1016/j.geb.2015.02.013
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Caselli, Francesco & Cunningham, Tom & Morelli, Massimo & Moreno de Barreda, Inés, 2012. "Signalling, Incumbency Advantage, and Optimal Reelection Thresholds," CEPR Discussion Papers 8832, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    5. Chun-Fang Chiang & Brian Knight, 2011. "Media Bias and Influence: Evidence from Newspaper Endorsements," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(3), pages 795-820.
    6. Dan Bernhardt & Odilon Câmara & Francesco Squintani, 2011. "Competence and Ideology," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(2), pages 487-522.
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    1. repec:eee:jetheo:v:170:y:2017:i:c:p:426-463 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Political agency; Repeated elections; Interest groups;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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