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An Agenda-Setting Model of Electoral Competition

Author

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  • Josep-Maria Colomer
  • Humberto Llavador

Abstract

This paper presents a model of electoral competition focusing on the formation of the public agenda. An incumbent government and a challenger party in opposition compete in elections by choosing the issues that will key out their campaigns. Giving salience to an issue implies proposing an innovative policy proposal alternative to the status-quo. Parties trade off the issues with high salience in voters' concerns and those with broad consensus on some policy proposal. Each party expects a higher probability of victory if the issue it chooses becomes salient in the voters' decision. Remarkably, the issues which are considered the most important ones by a majority of votes may not be given salience during the electoral campaign. An incumbent government may survive in spite of its bad policy performance if there is no sufficiently broad consensus on a policy alternative. We illustrate the analytical potential of the model with the case of the United States presidential election in 2004.

Suggested Citation

  • Josep-Maria Colomer & Humberto Llavador, 2008. "An Agenda-Setting Model of Electoral Competition," Working Papers 331, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:331
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Enriqueta Aragonès & Micael Castanheira & Marco Giani, 2012. "Electoral Competition through Issue Selection," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 903.12, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
    2. Elliott Ash & Massimo Morelli & Richard Van Weelden, 2015. "Election and Divisiveness: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers 542, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    3. Burkhard Schipper & Hee Yeul Woo, 2012. "Political Awareness and Microtargeting of Voters in Electoral Competition," Working Papers 124, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
    4. Georgy Egorov, 2015. "Single-Issue Campaigns and Multidimensional Politics," NBER Working Papers 21265, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Burkhard Schipper & Hee Yeul Woo, 2014. "Political Awareness, Microtargeting of Voters, and Negative Electoral Campaigning," Working Papers 148, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
    6. Stephen Ansolabehere & M. Socorro Puy, 2015. "Issue-salience, Issue-divisiveness and Voting Decisions," Working Papers 2015-01, Universidad de Málaga, Department of Economic Theory, Málaga Economic Theory Research Center.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    elections; political competition; issues; salience; consensus.;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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