The Citizen Candidate Model: An Experimental Analysis
Citizen candidate models represent a significant advance in the analysis of public choice. They provide added realism to models of endogenous policy formation, relate the number of candidates to the benefits and costs associated with electoral competition and support equilibria with differentiated candidate positions, even with a multidimensional policy space. In this paper, experimental methods are utilized to test two of the model’s equilibrium predictions. The results support the prediction that an increase in the net benefits to winning an election increases the number of citizens entering electoral contests. When the net benefits to winning an election are low, the results support the prediction that the only candidate has the median preference. Further, the results suggest that when net benefits are high, two members of the electorate with preferences close to and symmetric about the median enter the election, although convergence to this equilibrium takes time. Because entry is costly, having multiple candidates lowers group payoffs and may be seen as inefficient. Copyright Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005
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