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Voters' private valuation of candidates' quality

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  • Aragonès, Enriqueta
  • Xefteris, Dimitrios

Abstract

Different voters might have different valuations of candidates' qualitative features. We argue that this intuitive fact acts as a strong stabilizing force in electoral competition dynamics when candidates are office motivated (pure strategy equilibria may exist, unlike when all voters favor the same candidate). Perhaps more importantly, it affects candidates' platform moderation incentives in a rather intriguing manner. When voters are evenly split, in terms of their candidates' quality valuations, then both candidates have incentives to locate sufficiently near - but not necessarily exactly at - the center of the policy space. However, as the number of voters who favor the same candidate rises, (maximum) equilibrium differentiation follows a non-trivial U-shaped pattern. It is first decreasing and then increasing in the fraction of voters who prefer the more popular candidate.

Suggested Citation

  • Aragonès, Enriqueta & Xefteris, Dimitrios, 2017. "Voters' private valuation of candidates' quality," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 156(C), pages 121-130.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:156:y:2017:i:c:p:121-130
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2016.09.007
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bernard Grofman & Orestis Troumpounis & Dimitrios Xefteris, 2016. "Electoral competition with primaries and quality asymmetries," Working Papers 135286117, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Downsian model; Private information; Advantaged candidate; Candidate quality; Platform differentiation; Polarization;

    JEL classification:

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

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