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Political Awareness, Microtargeting of Voters, and Negative Electoral Campaigning

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  • Burkhard Schipper
  • Hee Yeul Woo

    (Department of Economics, University of California Davis)

Abstract

We study the informational effectiveness of electoral campaigns. Voters may not think about all political issues and have incomplete information with regard to political positions of candidates. Nevertheless, we show that if candidates are allowed to microtarget voters with messages then election outcomes are as if voters have full awareness of political issues and complete information about candidate's political positions. Political competition is paramount for overcoming the voter's limited awareness of political issues but unnecessary for overcoming just uncertainty about candidates' political positions. Our positive results break down if microtargeting is not allowed or voters lack political reasoning abilities. Yet, in such cases, negative campaigning comes to rescue.

Suggested Citation

  • Burkhard Schipper & Hee Yeul Woo, 2017. "Political Awareness, Microtargeting of Voters, and Negative Electoral Campaigning," Working Papers 173, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:cda:wpaper:17-3
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Boyer, Pierre C. & Konrad, Kai A. & Roberson, Brian, 2017. "Targeted campaign competition, loyal voters, and supermajorities," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 49-62.
    2. Burkhard Schipper, 2017. "Kuhn's Theorem for Extensive Games with Unawareness," Working Papers 176, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
    3. Anja Prummer, 2016. "Spatial Advertisement in Political Campaigns," Working Papers 805, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
    4. Anja Prummer, 2016. "Spatial Advertisement in Political Campaigns," Working Papers 805, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Electoral competition; campaign advertising; multidimensional policy space; microtargeting; dog-whistle politics; negative campaigning; persuasion games; unawareness;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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