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A Dynamic Model of Democratic Elections in Multidimensional Policy Spaces

  • Banks, Jeffrey S.
  • Duggan, John

We propose a general model of repeated elections. In each period, a challenger is chosen from the electorate to run against an incumbent politician in a majority-rule election, and the winner then selects a policy from a multidimensional policy space. Individual policy preferences are private information, whereas policy choices are publicly observable. We prove existence and continuity of equilibria in "simple" voting and policy strategies; we provide examples to show the variety of possible equilibrium patterns in multiple dimensions; we analyze the effects of patience and office-holding benefits on the persistence of policies over time; and we identify relationships between equilibrium policies and the core of the underlying voting game. As a byproduct of our analysis, we show how equilibrium incentives may lead elected representatives to make policy compromises, even when binding commitments are unavailable. We provide an informational story for incumbency advantage. Finally, we give an asymptotic version of the median voter theorem for the one-dimensional model as voters become-arbitrarily patient.

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Article provided by now publishers in its journal Quarterly Journal of Political Science.

Volume (Year): 3 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 (October)
Pages: 269-299

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Handle: RePEc:now:jlqjps:100.00006009
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  12. Banks, Jeffrey S. & Duggan, John, 1999. "A Bargaining Model of Collective Choice," Working Papers 1053, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  13. Duggan, John & Fey, Mark, 2005. "Electoral competition with policy-motivated candidates," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 490-522, May.
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  15. Judd, Kenneth L., 1985. "The law of large numbers with a continuum of IID random variables," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 19-25, February.
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  19. Jeffrey Banks & John Duggan, 2006. "A Social Choice Lemma on Voting Over Lotteries with Applications to a Class of Dynamic Games," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 285-304, April.
  20. Jeffrey Banks & John Duggan, 2001. "A Multidimensional Model of Repeated Elections," Wallis Working Papers WP24, University of Rochester - Wallis Institute of Political Economy.
  21. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1990. "Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 21-36, March.
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