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Targeted Campaign Competition, Loyal Voters, and Supermajorities

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  • Pierre C. Boyer
  • Kai A. Konrad
  • Brian Roberson

Abstract

We consider campaign competition in which candidates compete for votes among a continuum of voters by engaging in persuasive efforts that are targetable. Each individual voter is persuaded by campaign effort and votes for the candidate who targets more persuasive effort to this voter. Each candidate chooses a level of total campaign effort and allocates their effort among the set of voters. We completely characterize equilibrium for the majoritarian objective game and compare that to the vote-share maximizing game. If the candidates are symmetric ex ante, both types of electoral competition dissipate the rents from office in expectation. However, the equilibria arising under the two electoral objectives qualitatively differ. In majoritarian elections, candidates randomize over their level of total campaign effort, which provides support for the puzzling phenomenon of the emergence of supermajorities in majoritarian systems. Vote-share maximization leads to an equilibrium in which both candidates make deterministic budget choices and reach a precise fifty-fifty split of vote shares. We also study how asymmetry between the candidates affects the equilibrium. If some share of the voters is loyal to one of the candidates, then both candidates expend the same expected efforts in equilibrium, but the advantaged candidate wins with higher probability for majoritarian voting or a higher share of voters for vote-share maximization.

Suggested Citation

  • Pierre C. Boyer & Kai A. Konrad & Brian Roberson, 2017. "Targeted Campaign Competition, Loyal Voters, and Supermajorities," CESifo Working Paper Series 6409, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_6409
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    Cited by:

    1. Esslinger, Christoph & Boyer, Pierre, 2015. "Public debt and the political economy of reforms," VfS Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113107, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. Castanheira, Micael & Huck, Steffen & Leutgeb, Johannes & Schotter, Andrew, 2023. "How Trump triumphed: Multi-candidate primaries with buffoons," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 157(C).
    3. Denter, Philipp, 2020. "Campaign contests," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 127(C).
    4. Dan Kovenock & Brian Roberson, 2018. "The Optimal Defense Of Networks Of Targets," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 56(4), pages 2195-2211, October.
    5. Dan Kovenock & Brian Roberson & Roman M. Sheremeta, 2019. "The attack and defense of weakest-link networks," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 179(3), pages 175-194, June.
    6. Eguia, Jon X. & Nicolo, Antonio, 2019. "Information and targeted spending," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 14(2), May.
    7. Feng, Xin & Lu, Jingfeng, 2018. "How to split the pie: Optimal rewards in dynamic multi-battle competitions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 160(C), pages 82-95.
    8. Marco Magnani, 2017. "Electoral competition with ideologically biased voters," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 29(3), pages 415-439, July.
    9. Jan Zápal, 2017. "Crafting consensus," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 173(1), pages 169-200, October.
    10. van Gils, Freek & Müller, Wieland & Prüfer, Jens, 2020. "Big Data and Democracy," Discussion Paper 2020-003, Tilburg University, Tilburg Law and Economic Center.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    campaign competition; continuous general lotto game; vote buying; flexible budgets; supermajorities; loyal voters;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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