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Competence and Ideology

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  • Dan Bernhardt
  • Odilon Câmara
  • Francesco Squintani

Abstract

We develop a dynamic repeated election model in which citizen candidates are distinguished by both their ideology and valence. Voters observe an incumbent's valence and policy choices but only know the challenger's party. Our model provides a rich set of novel results. In contrast to existing predictions from static models, we prove that dynamic considerations make higher-valence incumbents more likely to compromise and win re-election, even though they compromise to more extreme policies. Consequently, we find that the correlation between valence and extremist policies rises with office-holder seniority. This result may help explain previous empirical findings. Despite this result, we establish that the whole electorate gains from improvements in the distribution of valences. In contrast, fixing average valence, the greater dispersion in valence associated with a high-valence political elite always benefits the median voter but can harm a majority of voters when voters are sufficiently risk averse. We then consider interest groups (IGs) or activists who search for candidates with better skills. We derive a complete theoretical explanation for the intuitive conjectures that policies are more extreme when IGs and activists have more extreme ideologies, and that such extremism reduces the welfare of all voters. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Dan Bernhardt & Odilon Câmara & Francesco Squintani, 2011. "Competence and Ideology," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(2), pages 487-522.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:78:y:2011:i:2:p:487-522
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/restud/rdq019
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:jetheo:v:170:y:2017:i:c:p:426-463 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Matias Iaryczower & Andrea Mattozzi, 2012. "The pro-competitive effect of campaign limits in non-majoritarian elections," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 49(3), pages 591-619, April.
    3. Katsuya Kobayashi & Hideo Konishi, 2016. "Endogenous party structure," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 317-351, November.
    4. Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay & Manaswini Bhalla & Kalysan Chatterjee & Jaideep Roy, 2014. "Ideological Dissent in Downsian Politics," Discussion Papers 14-04, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
    5. Lo Prete, Anna & Revelli, Federico, 2014. "Voter Turnout and City Performance," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201435, University of Turin.
    6. César Martinelli & John Duggan, 2014. "The Political Economy of Dynamic Elections: A Survey and Some New Results," Working Papers 1403, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
    7. repec:eee:jetheo:v:174:y:2018:i:c:p:273-287 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Câmara, Odilon & Bernhardt, Dan, 2015. "Learning about challengers," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 181-206.
    9. repec:eee:pubeco:v:160:y:2018:i:c:p:148-158 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Forand, Jean Guillaume, 2014. "Two-party competition with persistent policies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 152(C), pages 64-91.
    11. Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay & Kalyan Chatterjee & Jaideep Roy, 2015. "Manufacturing extremism: political consequences of profit-seeking media," Discussion Papers 15-14, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
    12. Federico Revelli, 2016. "Tax limits and local elections," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 166(1), pages 53-68, January.
    13. Javier Rivas, 2016. "Private agenda and re-election incentives," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 46(4), pages 899-915, April.
    14. Raphael Boleslavsky & Christopher Cotton, 2015. "Information and Extremism in Elections," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 165-207, February.
    15. Buisseret, Peter & Prato, Carlo, 2016. "Electoral control and the human capital of politicians," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 34-55.
    16. Marina Dodlova & Galina Zudenkova, 2016. "Incumbents' Performance and Political Polarization," CESifo Working Paper Series 5728, CESifo Group Munich.
    17. Graham, Brett & Bernhardt, Dan, 2015. "Flexibility vs. protection from an unrepresentative legislative majority," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 59-88.
    18. Jean Guillaume Forand & John Duggan, 2013. "Markovian Elections," Working Papers 1305, University of Waterloo, Department of Economics, revised Oct 2013.
    19. Bandyopadhyay, Siddhartha & Bhalla, Manaswini & Chatterjee, Kalyan & Roy, Jaideep, 2017. "Strategic dissent in the Hotelling–Downs model with sequential entry and private information," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 51-66.
    20. John Duggan, 2013. "A Folk Theorem for Repeated Elections with Adverse Selection," Wallis Working Papers WP64, University of Rochester - Wallis Institute of Political Economy.

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