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Flip-flopping from primaries to general elections

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  • Hummel, Patrick

Abstract

I consider a model in which candidates must win a primary election to compete in the general election. Candidates may choose different policies in the primary and the general election, but doing so results in accusations of flip-flopping. I show that candidates adopt extreme policies in the primaries but then try to move closer to the center for the general election even though primary voters are forward-looking and anticipate this policy moderation. The extent to which candidates move closer to the center is constrained by flip-flopping costs, and candidates choose divergent policies in the general election. I obtain comparative statics results on candidate policy choices in terms of voter preferences.

Suggested Citation

  • Hummel, Patrick, 2010. "Flip-flopping from primaries to general elections," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(11-12), pages 1020-1027, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:94:y:2010:i:11-12:p:1020-1027
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Hummel, Patrick, 2013. "Candidate strategies in primaries and general elections with candidates of heterogeneous quality," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 85-102.
    2. Buechel, Berno & Klein, Jan, 2014. "Do Consumers' Preferences Really Matter? - A Note on Spatial Competition with Restricted Strategies," MPRA Paper 55288, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Bernard Grofman & Orestis Troumpounis & Dimitrios Xefteris, 2016. "Electoral competition with primaries and quality asymmetries," Working Papers 135286117, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    4. Berno Buechel & Jan F. Klein, 2016. "Restrictions in Spatial Competition: The Effects on Firms and Consumers," Homo Oeconomicus: Journal of Behavioral and Institutional Economics, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 157-172, August.
    5. Fredriksson, Per G. & Wang, Le, 2011. "Sex and environmental policy in the U.S. House of Representatives," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 113(3), pages 228-230.
    6. Mohammad Mirhosseini, 2015. "Primaries with strategic voters: trading off electability and ideology," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 44(3), pages 457-471, March.
    7. repec:eee:enepol:v:111:y:2017:i:c:p:127-136 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. G. Bellettini & P. Roberti, 2016. "Politicians' coherence and government debt," Working Papers wp1087, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.

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