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Policy Platforms, Campaign Spending and Voter Participation

  • Helios Herrera


    (Centro de Investigacion Economica (CIE), Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico (ITAM))

  • David K. Levine


    (Department of Economics, UCLA)

  • Cesar Martinelli


    (Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM)

We model electoral competition between two parties in a winner-take-all election. Parties choose strategically first their platforms and then their campaign spending under aggregate uncertainty about voters' preferences. We use the model to examine why campaign spending in the United States has increased at the same time that politics has become more polarized. We find that the popular explanation ­ better targeting of campaign spending ­ is not a likely explanation. While better targeting does lead to greater spending, it leads to less polarization. Instead we argue that the likely explanation is that voters references have become more volatile. This will both raise campaign spending and increase polarization. At the same time it is consistent with the observation that voters have become less committed to the two parties.

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Paper provided by Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM in its series Working Papers with number 0503.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cie:wpaper:0503
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  1. Prat, Andrea, 1999. "Campaign Advertising and Voter Welfare," CEPR Discussion Papers 2152, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Stephen Coate, 2001. "Political Competition with Campaign Contributions and Informative Advertising," NBER Working Papers 8693, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Eddie Dekel & Matthew O. Jackson & Asher Wolinsky, 2004. "Vote Buying," Discussion Papers 1386, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    • Jackson, Matthew O. & Dekel, Eddie & Wolinsky, Asher, 2005. "Vote buying," Working Papers 1215, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
    • Eddie Dekel & Matthew O. Jackson & Asher Wolinsky, 2005. "Vote Buying," Others 0503006, EconWPA.
  4. Enriqueta Aragones & Zvika Neeman, 1994. "Strategic Ambiguity in Electoral Competition," Discussion Papers 1083, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  5. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
  6. Barry Nalebuff & Ron Shachar, 1999. "Follow the Leader: Theory and Evidence on Political Participation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 525-547, June.
  7. Christian Schultz, 2003. "Strategic Campaigns and Redistributive Politics," EPRU Working Paper Series 03-03, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  8. David Austen-Smith, 1987. "Interest groups, campaign contributions, and probabilistic voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 54(2), pages 123-139, January.
  9. Lindbeck, Assar & Weibull, Jorgen W., 1993. "A model of political equilibrium in a representative democracy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 195-209, June.
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