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Mixed Equilibrium in a Downsian Model with a Favored Candidate


  • Aragones, Enriqueta
  • Palfrey, Thomas R.


This paper examines competition in the standard one-dimensional Downsian model of two-candidate elections, but where one candidate (A) enjoys an advantage over the other candidate (D). Voters' preferences are Euclidean, but any voter will vote for candidate A over candidate D unless D is closer to her ideal point by some fixed distance δ. The location of the median voter's ideal point is uncertain, and its distribution is commonly known by both candidates. The candidates simultaneously choose locations to maximize the probability of victory. Pure strategy equilibria often fails to exist in this model, except under special conditions about δ and the distribution of the median ideal point. We solve for the essentially unique symmetric mixed equilibrium, show that candidate A adopts more moderate policies than candidate D, and obtain some comparative statics results about the probability of victory and the expected distance between the two candidates' policies.
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Suggested Citation

  • Aragones, Enriqueta & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2002. "Mixed Equilibrium in a Downsian Model with a Favored Candidate," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 131-161, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:103:y:2002:i:1:p:131-161

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bernhardt, M. Daniel & Ingerman, Daniel E., 1985. "Candidate reputations and the `incumbency effect'," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 47-67, June.
    2. Partha Dasgupta & Eric Maskin, 1986. "The Existence of Equilibrium in Discontinuous Economic Games, I: Theory," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(1), pages 1-26.
    3. repec:cup:apsrev:v:70:y:1976:i:03:p:779-805_17 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Aragones, Enriqueta & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2002. "Mixed Equilibrium in a Downsian Model with a Favored Candidate," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 131-161, March.
    5. repec:cup:apsrev:v:57:y:1963:i:02:p:368-377_24 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Ansolabehere, Stephen & Snyder, James M, Jr, 2000. "Valence Politics and Equilibrium in Spatial Election Models," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 103(3-4), pages 327-336, June.
    7. Adams, James, 1999. "Policy Divergence in Multicandidate Probabilistic Spatial Voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 100(1-2), pages 103-122, July.
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    JEL classification:

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


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