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Electoral competition with third party entry in the lab

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  • Tsakas, Nikolas
  • Xefteris, Dimitrios

Abstract

Electoral competition between two vote-share maximizing candidates in the context of the unidimensional spatial model leads to platform convergence: both candidates end up proposing the ideal policy of the median voter (Downs, 1957). Palfrey (1984) famously argued that if third candidate entry is expected after the two main candidates choose their platforms, the unique equilibrium is such that the two main candidates locate substantially far from each other. By conducting a laboratory experiment, we put this popular idea to test, for the first time. We allow entry to take place with four different probabilities and find that, indeed, the degree of polarization of the two main candidates’ platforms increases as third candidate entry becomes more likely to occur, providing strong evidence in support of Palfrey (1984)’s formal results and underlying intuition.

Suggested Citation

  • Tsakas, Nikolas & Xefteris, Dimitrios, 2018. "Electoral competition with third party entry in the lab," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 148(C), pages 121-134.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:148:y:2018:i:c:p:121-134
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2018.02.010
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    2. Alexander Shapoval & Shlomo Weber & Alexei Zakharov, 2019. "Valence influence in electoral competition with rank objectives," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 48(3), pages 713-753, September.
    3. Dimitrios Xefteris, 2018. "Candidate valence in a spatial model with entry," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 176(3), pages 341-359, September.
    4. DeAngelo, Gregory & Houser, Daniel & Romaniuc, Rustam, 2020. "Experimental public choice: An introduction to the special issue," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 175(C), pages 278-280.
    5. Bol, Damien & Matakos, Konstantinos & Troumpounis, Orestis & Xefteris, Dimitrios, 2019. "Electoral rules, strategic entry and polarization," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 178(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Electoral competition; Entry; Third party; Spatial model; Experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

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

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