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Candidate quality, pressure group endorsements and the nature of political advertising

  • Wittman, Donald

Candidates may vary in quality, where quality is some characteristic orthogonal to policy. This "simple modification" has for the most part defied integration into the Downsian framework. Here we add the following complicating factors. We consider the possibility that there are uninformed voters who are ignorant of the candidates' relative quality. However, a pressure group with inside information regarding the quality of the candidates may endorse one of the candidates as the high-quality candidate. We assume that the uninformed voters behave rationally in the presence of this endorsement. We show that campaign endorsements by the pressure group are generally welfare improving even though the pressure group takes advantage of its private information.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 23 (2007)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 360-378

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Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:23:y:2007:i:2:p:360-378
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505544

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  1. Stephen Coate, 2001. "Political Competition with Campaign Contributions and Informative Advertising," NBER Working Papers 8693, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Roger Congleton, 1989. "Campaign finances and political platforms: The economics of political controversy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 62(2), pages 101-118, August.
  3. Gene Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1994. "Electoral Competition and Special Interest Politics," NBER Working Papers 4877, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Prat, A., 1997. "Campaign Advertising and Voter Welfare," Discussion Paper 1997-118, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  5. Prat, A., 1998. "Campaign Spending with Office-Seeking Politicians, Rational Voters and Multiple Lobbies," Discussion Paper 1998-123, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  6. Donald Wittman, 2005. "Valence characteristics, costly policy and the median-crossing property: A diagrammatic exposition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 124(3), pages 365-382, September.
  7. Grossman, G-M & Helpman, E, 1996. "Competing for Endorsements," Papers 182, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
  8. Mueller, Dennis C & Stratmann, Thomas, 1994. " Informative and Persuasive Campaigning," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 81(1-2), pages 55-77, October.
  9. Ansolabehere, Stephen & Snyder, James M, Jr, 2000. " Valence Politics and Equilibrium in Spatial Election Models," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 103(3-4), pages 327-36, June.
  10. Enriqueta Aragon├ęs & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2000. "Mixed equilibrium in a Downsian model with a favored candidate," Economics Working Papers 502, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  11. Cukierman, Alex, 1991. " Asymmetric Information and the Electoral Momentum of Public Opinion Polls," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 70(2), pages 181-213, May.
  12. Stephen Coate, 2004. "Pareto-Improving Campaign Finance Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 628-655, June.
  13. Grofman, Bernard & Norrander, Barbara, 1990. " Efficient Use of Reference Group Cues in a Single Dimension," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 64(3), pages 213-27, March.
  14. David Austen-Smith, 1987. "Interest groups, campaign contributions, and probabilistic voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 54(2), pages 123-139, January.
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