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Policy Reversals: Electoral Competition with Privately Informed Parties

  • Cesar Martinelli

    ()

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

  • Akihiko Matsui

    ()

    (University of Tokyo)

We develop a unidimensional spatial model of two party competition in which parties are better informed than voters about the bliss point of voters. The announced positions of the two parties serve as signals to the voters concerning the parties' private information. Surprisingly, in all separating equilibria the policies implemented by the left-wing party, when it attains power, are to the right of the policies implemented by the right-wing party when it attains power in turn. The driving force behind this result is that, in the event of a shock making right-wing policies more attractive, the incentives pushing the left party to the right are strong, since by winning the election it can avoid the right party implementing extreme policies, while the right-wing party can stay put in a radical stance with the prospect of seeing relatively attractive policies implemented by the rival party.

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File URL: http://ftp.itam.mx/pub/academico/inves/martinelli/9905.pdf
File Function: First version, 1999
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Paper provided by Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM in its series Working Papers with number 9905.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Apr 1999
Date of revision: Jan 2000
Handle: RePEc:cie:wpaper:9905
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  1. Martinelli, Cesar, 2001. " Elections with Privately Informed Parties and Voters," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 108(1-2), pages 147-67, July.
  2. Gibbons, Robert, 1988. "Learning in Equilibrium Models of Arbitration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(5), pages 896-912, December.
  3. Cukierman, Alex & Tommasi, Mariano, 1998. "When Does It Take a Nixon to Go to China?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 180-97, March.
  4. Harrington, Joseph E, Jr, 1993. "Economic Policy, Economic Performance, and Elections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 27-42, March.
  5. Kyle Bagwell & Garey Ramey, 1991. "Oligopoly Limit Pricing," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(2), pages 155-172, Summer.
  6. Banks, Jeffrey S., 1990. "A model of electoral competition with incomplete information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 309-325, April.
  7. Myerson, Roger B., 1998. "Extended Poisson Games and the Condorcet Jury Theorem," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 111-131, October.
  8. Schultz, Christian, 1996. "Polarization and Inefficient Policies," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(2), pages 331-44, April.
  9. Timothy Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1997. "Voting Behavior and Information Aggregation in Elections With Private Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1560, David K. Levine.
  10. Roemer, J.E., 1992. "The Emergence of Party Ideology when Voter Are Uncertain about How the Economy Works," Papers 396, California Davis - Institute of Governmental Affairs.
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