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Campaign Advertising and Voter Welfare

  • Prat, Andrea

This paper investigates the role of campaign advertising and the opportunity of legal restrictions on it. An electoral race is modeled as a signalling game with three classes of players: a continuum of voters, two candidates, and one interest group. The group has non-verifiable insider information on the candidates' valence and, on the basis of this information, offers a contribution to each candidate in exchange for a favorable policy position. Candidates spend the contributions they receive on non-directly informative advertising. This paper shows that: (1) A separating equilibrium exists in which the group contributes to a candidate only if the insider information about that candidate is positive; (2) Although voters are fully rational, a ban on campaign advertising can be welfare-improving; and (3) Split contributions may arise in equilibrium (and should be prohibited).

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 2152.

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Date of creation: May 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2152
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  1. repec:oup:qjecon:v:108:y:1993:i:4:p:941-64 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Paul R. Milgrom & John Roberts, 1984. "Price and Advertising Signals of Product Quality," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 709, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
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  4. Timothy Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1997. "Voting Behavior and Information Aggregation in Elections With Private Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1560, David K. Levine.
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  10. Potters, Jan & Sloof, Randolph & van Winden, Frans, 1997. "Campaign expenditures, contributions and direct endorsements: The strategic use of information and money to influence voter behavior," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 1-31, February.
  11. Bagwell, Kyle & Ramey, Garey, 1994. "Coordination Economies, Advertising, and Search Behavior in Retail Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 498-517, June.
  12. Mailath George J. & Okuno-Fujiwara Masahiro & Postlewaite Andrew, 1993. "Belief-Based Refinements in Signalling Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 241-276, August.
  13. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, 1990. "A Simple Theory of Advertising as a Good," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 58, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  14. repec:oup:restud:v:44:y:1977:i:3:p:465-91 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 1993. "A Theory of Incentives in Procurement and Regulation," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121743, June.
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  17. Lohmann, Susanne, 1994. "Information Aggregation through Costly Political Action," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 518-30, June.
  18. Avinash Dixit & Victor Norman, 1978. "Advertising and Welfare," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(1), pages 1-17, Spring.
  19. Cukierman, Alex, 1991. " Asymmetric Information and the Electoral Momentum of Public Opinion Polls," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 70(2), pages 181-213, May.
  20. Lopez, Rigoberto A & Pagoulatos, Emilio, 1996. "Trade Protection and the Role of Campaign Contributions in U.S. Food and Tobacco Industries," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 34(2), pages 237-48, April.
  21. Rebecca Morton & Charles Cameron, 1992. "Elections And The Theory Of Campaign Contributions: A Survey And Critical Analysis," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(1), pages 79-108, 03.
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