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A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates

Listed author(s):
  • Martin J. Osborne
  • Al Slivinski

We develop a model of electoral competition in which citizens choose whether or not to run as candidates. A winner implements her favorite policy. The equilibrium number of candidates depends negatively on the cost of running and positively on the benefits of winning. For some parameter values all equilibria under plurality rule have exactly two candidates, whose positions are distinct. Two-candidate elections are more likely under plurality rule than under a runoff system (cf. Duverger's Law). The candidates' positions are less differentiated under a runoff system. There exist equilibria under both systems in which some candidates have no chance of winning.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.2307/2946658
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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 111 (1996)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 65-96

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Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:111:y:1996:i:1:p:65-96.
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  1. Osborne Martin J., 1993. "Candidate Positioning and Entry in a Political Competition," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 133-151, January.
  2. Stephen Wright & William Riker, 1989. "Plurality and runoff systems and numbers of candidates," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 60(2), pages 155-175, February.
  3. Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate, 1997. "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 85-114.
  4. Tabellini, Guido & Alesina, Alberto, 1990. "Voting on the Budget Deficit," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 37-49, March.
  5. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1990. "Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 21-36, March.
  6. Thomas R. Palfrey, 1984. "Spatial Equilibrium with Entry," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(1), pages 139-156.
  7. Wittman, Donald, 1977. "Candidates with policy preferences: A dynamic model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 180-189, February.
  8. Alesina, Alberto, 1988. "Credibility and Policy Convergence in a Two-Party System with Rational Voters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 796-805, September.
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