Context-dependent voting and political ambiguity
In recent decades psychologists have shown that the standard model of individual choice is often violated. One regularly observed violation is that choices are influenced by the decision context. To incorporate these effects into politics, we introduce a theory of context-dependent voting and apply it to the puzzle of why candidates are so frequently ambiguous in their policy pronouncements. We show that context-dependent voters develop a taste for ambiguity, even when they evaluate distances quadratically and exhibit traditional risk aversion. Turning to aggregate effects, we incorporate context-dependent voting into a model of electoral competition and show that strategic candidates respond in equilibrium to context-dependent voters by offering ambiguous platforms, thereby affecting the policy outcome.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Dhar, Ravi, 1997. " Consumer Preference for a No-Choice Option," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(2), pages 215-231, September.
- Callander, Steven & Wilson, Catherine H., 2006. "Context-dependent Voting," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 1(3), pages 227-254, July.
- John W. Pratt & David A. Wise & Richard Zeckhauser, 1979. "Price Differences in almost Competitive Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 93(2), pages 189-211.
- Richard Zeckhauser, 1969. "Majority Rule with Lotteries on Alternatives," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 83(4), pages 696-703.
- Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135-135.
- Cukierman, Alex & Alesina, Alberto, 1990.
"The Politics of Ambiguity,"
4552530, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Enriqueta Aragonés & Andrew Postlewaite, 1999. "Ambiguity in election games," Economics Working Papers 364, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
- Huber, Joel & Payne, John W & Puto, Christopher, 1982. " Adding Asymmetrically Dominated Alternatives: Violations of Regularity and the Similarity Hypothesis," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(1), pages 90-98, June.
- Thaler, Richard, 1980. "Toward a positive theory of consumer choice," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 39-60, March.
- Enriqueta AragonÃ¨s & Zvika Neeman, 2000. "Strategic Ambiguity in Electoral Competition," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 12(2), pages 183-204, April.
- Amos Tversky & Itamar Simonson, 1993. "Context-Dependent Preferences," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 39(10), pages 1179-1189, October.
- Adam Meirowitz, 2005. "Informational Party Primaries and Strategic Ambiguity," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 17(1), pages 107-136, January.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:92:y:2008:i:3-4:p:565-581. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.