Campaign contributions as valence
I study how the possibility of voters contributing to candidates in response to the candidates’ policy proposals affects the equilibrium policy in winner-take-all political competition. More specifically, I allow each partisan voter to contribute to her preferred candidate where the amount contributed depends on the relative positions of the two candidates. Candidates then use the donations to build valence through campaigning, which in turn affects the voting decision of impressionable voters. Since candidates are concerned with raising money as well as picking a policy position preferred by the median voter, I show that campaign contributions may lead to divergent equilibria in winner-take-all elections when politicians are policy-motivated, albeit only under stylized utility functions and donor densities. Further, under symmetric voter and donor densities, if either the donor density is single-peaked or the voter utility is concave, a unique equilibrium exists in which both candidates propose the ideal policy of the median voter. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2013
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