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Strategic Competition in Sequential Election Contests

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  • Strumpf, Koleman S

Abstract

This paper studies a sequential election contest, such as the American presidential primary, in which several elections occur one at a time until a single winner emerges. The conventional wisdom is such a system benefits a candidate favored in the initial elections because of momentum. This paper uncovers a potentially opposing force if participation is costly and candidates exit when they have unfavorable future prospects. A candidate with friendly elections at the end of the contest will typically benefit from the resulting game theoretic competition. Tension between this strategic effect and momentum helps explain several empirical regularities of presidential primaries. Copyright 2002 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

Suggested Citation

  • Strumpf, Koleman S, 2002. "Strategic Competition in Sequential Election Contests," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 111(3-4), pages 377-397, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:111:y:2002:i:3-4:p:377-97
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Akhmed Akhmedov & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2004. "Opportunistic Political Cycles: Test in a Young Democracy Setting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1301-1338.
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    4. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2003. "Do Electoral Cycles Differ Across Political Systems?," Working Papers 232, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    5. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1990. "Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 21-36, March.
    6. Brender, Adi & Drazen, Allan, 2003. "Where Does the Political Budget Cycle Really Come From?," CEPR Discussion Papers 4049, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. William D. Nordhaus, 1975. "The Political Business Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(2), pages 169-190.
    8. Berger, Helge & Woitek, Ulrich, 1997. "Searching for Political Business Cycles in Germany," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 91(2), pages 179-197, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dmitry Ryvkin, 2007. "Tullock contests of weakly heterogeneous players," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 132(1), pages 49-64, July.
    2. Hummel, Patrick, 2012. "Sequential voting in large elections with multiple candidates," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(3), pages 341-348.
    3. Hummel, Patrick & Holden, Richard, 2014. "Optimal primaries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 64-75.
    4. Brian Knight & Nathan Schiff, 2010. "Momentum and Social Learning in Presidential Primaries," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(6), pages 1110-1150.
    5. Konrad, Kai A. & Kovenock, Dan, 2006. "Multi-Stage Contests with Stochastic Ability," CEPR Discussion Papers 5844, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Kai A. Konrad & Dan Kovenock, 2010. "Contests With Stochastic Abilities," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(1), pages 89-103, January.
    7. Gelder, Alan, 2014. "From Custer to Thermopylae: Last stand behavior in multi-stage contests," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 442-466.
    8. Patrick Hummel & Brian Knight, 2015. "Sequential Or Simultaneous Elections? A Welfare Analysis," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 56, pages 851-887, August.
    9. Klumpp, Tilman & Polborn, Mattias K., 2006. "Primaries and the New Hampshire Effect," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(6-7), pages 1073-1114, August.
    10. Bag, Parimal Kanti & Sabourian, Hamid & Winter, Eyal, 2009. "Multi-stage voting, sequential elimination and Condorcet consistency," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(3), pages 1278-1299, May.

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