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Issue convergence or issue divergence in a political campaign?

  • Pablo Amorós

    ()

  • M. Puy

    ()

In this article, a two-party contest where candidates allocate their campaign resources strategically between two salient issues is studied. The analysis aims to determine the circumstances under which there is issue convergence (both parties emphasizing the same issue) or issue divergence (different parties emphasizing different issues) during a political campaign. For this purpose, the concepts of a party’s absolute and comparative advantage are used. A party has an absolute advantage on an issue if a majority of voters prefer its position on this issue to that of its opponent. A party has a comparative advantage on an issue if the percentage of votes that it would obtain if voters cared only about that issue is larger than those that it would obtain if voters cared only about the other issue. It is shown here that issue convergence can occur only if one of the parties has an absolute advantage on both issues, but its comparative advantage is not too large. Otherwise, there will be issue divergence in the political campaign. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2013

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11127-011-9865-0
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Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

Volume (Year): 155 (2013)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 355-371

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Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:155:y:2013:i:3:p:355-371
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100332

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  1. Prat, A., 1998. "Campaign Spending with Office-Seeking Politicians, Rational Voters and Multiple Lobbies," Discussion Paper 1998-123, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  2. Martin J. Osborne & Al Slivinksi, 1995. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," Department of Economics Working Papers 1995-01, McMaster University.
  3. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1997. "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 85-114, February.
  4. Westermark, A., 1999. "Extremism, Campaigning and Ambiguity," Papers 1999:9, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
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  6. Ashworth, Scott & Bueno de Mesquita, Ethan, 2009. "Elections with platform and valence competition," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 191-216, September.
  7. Harrington, Joseph Jr. & Hess, Gregory D., 1996. "A Spatial Theory of Positive and Negative Campaigning," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 209-229, December.
  8. Pablo Amoros & M. Socorro Puy, 2008. "Indicators of Electoral Victory," Working Papers 2008-8, Universidad de Málaga, Department of Economic Theory, Málaga Economic Theory Research Center.
  9. Gene Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1994. "Electoral Competition and Special Interest Politics," NBER Working Papers 4877, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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