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Projection effects and strategic ambiguity in electoral competition

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  • Thomas Jensen

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Abstract

Theories from psychology suggest that voters' perceptions of political positions depend on their non-policy related attitudes towards the candidates. A voter who likes (dislikes) a candidate will perceive the candidate's position as closer to (further from) his own than it really is. This is called projection. If voters' perceptions are not counterfactual and voting is based on perceived policy positions then projection gives a generally liked candidate an incentive to be ambiguous. In this paper we construct and analyze a formal model to investigate under which conditions this incentive survives in the strategic setting of electoral competition, even if voters dislike ambiguity per se.
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Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Jensen, 2009. "Projection effects and strategic ambiguity in electoral competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 141(1), pages 213-232, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:141:y:2009:i:1:p:213-232
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-009-9449-4
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11127-009-9449-4
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Alberto Alesina & Alex Cukierman, 1990. "The Politics of Ambiguity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(4), pages 829-850.
    2. Enriqueta Aragon├ęs & Zvika Neeman, 1994. "Strategic ambiguity in electoral competition," Economics Working Papers 162, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Apr 1996.
    3. repec:cup:apsrev:v:84:y:1990:i:01:p:237-241_19 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Burkhard Schipper & Hee Yeul Woo, 2012. "Political Awareness and Microtargeting of Voters in Electoral Competition," Working Papers 124, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
    2. repec:kap:pubcho:v:173:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11127-017-0461-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Maarten C. W. Janssen & Mariya Teteryatnikova, 2015. "On the Positive Role of Negative Political Campaigning," Vienna Economics Papers 1506, University of Vienna, Department of Economics.
    4. Burkhard Schipper & Hee Yeul Woo, 2014. "Political Awareness, Microtargeting of Voters, and Negative Electoral Campaigning," Working Papers 148, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
    5. Rothengatter, Marloes, 2016. "Insights in cognitive patterns : Essays on heuristics and identification," Other publications TiSEM 5f812a9d-8968-48b8-8d1b-0, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    6. repec:kap:pubcho:v:172:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11127-017-0459-3 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Electoral competition; Ambiguity; Voter perception; Projection; D72; D83;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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