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Ambiguity in Electoral Competition

  • Jean-François Laslier


The paper proposes a theory of ambiguous electoral competition. A platform is ambigous if voters may interpret it as different policy proposals. An ambiguous platform puts more or less emphasis on alternative policies so that it is more or less easily interpreted as one policy or the other. I suppose that a party can monitor exactly this platform design but cannot target its communications to individuals one by one. Each individual votes according to her understanding of the parties' platforms but dislikes ambiguity. It is shown that this electoral competition has no Nash equilibrium. Nevertheless its max-min strategies are the optimal strategies of the Downsian game in mixed strategies. Furthermore, if parties behave prudently enough and if the voters aversion to ambiguity is small enough, these strategies do form an equilibrium.

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Article provided by Springer in its journal Economics of Governance.

Volume (Year): 7 (2006)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 195-210

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Handle: RePEc:spr:ecogov:v:7:y:2006:i:2:p:195-210
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