Crossing Party Lines: The Effects of Information on Redistributive Politics
This paper explores how the quality of information available to voters influences the choices they make in the polling booth and in turn affects the strategies of political parties competing for their support. To do so, the paper builds a model of redistributive politics under asymmetric information and then tests the resulting propositions with data from recent elections in Sierra Leone. Using the Lindbeck and Weibull (1987) model as a foundation, I incorporate a new determinant of voting choice--candidate quality--which is only imperfectly observed by voters. I show that voters with better information about candidates are more likely to cross ethnic party lines to support a high quality candidate. Furthermore, since information encourages voters to consider characteristics like candidate charisma that are difficult for parties to observe, it makes party forecasting of expected vote shares more uncertain. Such electoral uncertainty in turn induces parties to spread their resources more evenly across jurisdictions. Two institutional attributes of the empirical setting--ethnicity-based politics and decentralization--enable direct tests of these informational propositions as well as a novel identification strategy for the classic swing voter hypothesis. My results suggest that information could break the low accountability equilibrium in which citizens cast their votes blindly along partisan lines, creating little incentive for political parties to invest in candidate quality or provide resources to areas outside the most tightly contested jurisdictions.
|Date of creation:||Apr 2012|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: (650) 723-2146
Web page: http://gsbapps.stanford.edu/researchpapers/
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Lori A. Beaman & Raghabendra Chattopadhyay & Esther Duflo & Rohini Pande & Petia Topalova, 2008.
"Powerful Women: Does Exposure Reduce Bias?,"
NBER Working Papers
14198, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Beaman, Lori & Chattopadhyay, Raghebendra & Duflo, Esther & Pande, Rohini & Topalova, Petia, 2008. "Powerful Women: Does Exposure Reduce Bias?," Working Paper Series rwp08-037, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
- Petia Topalova & Esther Duflo & Rohini Pande & Lori Beaman & Raghabendra Chattopadhyay, 2008. "Powerful Women: Does Exposure Reduce Bias?," Working Papers id:1617, eSocialSciences.
- Beaman, Lori & Chattopadhyay, Raghabendra & Duflo, Esther & Pande, Rohini & Topalova, Petia, 2008. "Powerful Women: Does Exposure Reduce Bias?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6922, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Valentino Larcinese & James M. Snyder (Jr.) & Cecilia Testa, 2006.
"Testing models of distributive politics using exit polls to measure voter preferences and partisanship,"
LSE Research Online Documents on Economics
3605, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
- Valentino Larcinese & James M. Snyder & Cecilia Testa, 2009. "Testing Models of Distributive Politics using Exit Polls to Measure Voters Preferences and Partisanship," Development Working Papers 278, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
- Valentino Larcinese & James M. Snyder, Jr. & Cecilia Testa, 2006. "Testing Models Of Distributive Politicsusing Exit Polls To Measure Voterpreferences And Partisanship," STICERD - Political Economy and Public Policy Paper Series 19, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
- Ferraz, Claudio & Finan, Frederico S., 2007.
"Exposing Corrupt Politicians: The Effects of Brazil’s Publicly Released Audits on Electoral Outcomes,"
IZA Discussion Papers
2836, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Claudio Ferraz & Frederico Finan, 2008. "Exposing Corrupt Politicians: The Effects of Brazil's Publicly Released Audits on Electoral Outcomes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(2), pages 703-745, 05.
- Wallace E. Oates, 1999. "An Essay on Fiscal Federalism," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1120-1149, September.
- Jeffrey R. Kling & B. Jeffrey Liebman, 2004. "Experimental Analysis of Neighborhood Effects on Youth," Working Papers 862, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
- Khemani, Stuti, 2001. "Decentralization and accountability : are voters more vigilant in local than in national elections ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2557, The World Bank.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ecl:stabus:2099. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.