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An empirical analysis of valence in electoral competition

  • Fabian Gouret

    ()

  • Guillaume Hollard

    ()

  • Stéphane Rossignol

    ()

Spatial models of voting have dominated mathematical political theory since the seminal work of Downs. The Downsian model assumes that each elector votes on the basis of his utility function which depends only on the distance between his preferred policy platform and the ones proposed by candidates. A succession of papers introduces valence issues into the model, i.e., candidates' characteristics which are independent of the platforms they propose. So far, little is known about which of the existing utility functions used in valence models is the most empirically founded. Using a large survey run prior to the 2007 French presidential election, we evaluate and compare several spatial voting models with valence. Existing models perform poorly in fitting the data. However, strong empirical regularities emerge. This leads us to a new model of valence that we call the intensity valence model. This new model makes sense theoretically and is grounded empirically.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00355-010-0495-0
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Article provided by Springer in its journal Social Choice and Welfare.

Volume (Year): 37 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (July)
Pages: 309-340

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Handle: RePEc:spr:sochwe:v:37:y:2011:i:2:p:309-340
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  1. Breusch, T S & Pagan, A R, 1980. "The Lagrange Multiplier Test and Its Applications to Model Specification in Econometrics," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 239-53, January.
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  5. Carrillo, Juan D & Castanheira, Micael, 2002. "Platform Divergence, Political Efficiency and the Median Voter Theorem," CEPR Discussion Papers 3180, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  7. Guillaume Hollard & Stéphane Rossignol, 2008. "An Alternative Approach to Valence Advantage in Spatial Competition," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 10(3), pages 441-454, 06.
  8. Lorenzo Cappellari & Stephen P. Jenkins, 2006. "Calculation of multivariate normal probabilities by simulation, with applications to maximum simulated likelihood estimation," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 6(2), pages 156-189, June.
  9. Ansolabehere, Stephen & Snyder, James M, Jr, 2000. " Valence Politics and Equilibrium in Spatial Election Models," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 103(3-4), pages 327-36, June.
  10. Nicolas Sahuguet & Nicola Persico, 2006. "Campaign spending regulation in a model of redistributive politics," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 95-124, 05.
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  12. Martin J. Osborne, 1995. "Spatial Models of Political Competition under Plurality Rule: A Survey of Some Explanations of the Number of Candidates and the Positions They Take," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 28(2), pages 261-301, May.
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