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Political disagreement and information in elections

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  • Alonso, Ricardo
  • Câmara, Odilon

Abstract

We study the role of re-election concerns in incumbent parties' incentives to shape the information that reaches voters. In a probabilistic voting model, candidates representing two groups of voters compete for office. In equilibrium, the candidate representing the majority wins with a probability that increases in the degree of political disagreement — the difference in expected payoffs from the candidates' policies. Prior to the election, the office-motivated incumbent party (IP) can influence the degree of disagreement through policy experimentation — a public signal about a payoff-relevant state. We show that if the IP supports the majority candidate, then it strategically designs this experiment to increase disagreement and, hence, the candidate's victory probability. We define conditions such that the IP chooses an upper-censoring experiment and the experiment's informativeness decreases with the majority candidate's competence. The IP uses the experiment to increase disagreement even when political disagreement is due solely to belief disagreement.

Suggested Citation

  • Alonso, Ricardo & Câmara, Odilon, 2016. "Political disagreement and information in elections," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 68393, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:68393
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Alonso, Ricardo & Câmara, Odilon, 2016. "Bayesian persuasion with heterogeneous priors," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 165(C), pages 672-706.
    2. Ricardo Alonso & Odilon Câmara, 2016. "Persuading Voters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(11), pages 3590-3605, November.
    3. Sara Negrelli, 2018. "Bubbles and Persuasion with Second Order Uncertainty," BAFFI CAREFIN Working Papers 1876, BAFFI CAREFIN, Centre for Applied Research on International Markets Banking Finance and Regulation, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
    4. Alonso, Ricardo & Câmara, Odilon, 2018. "On the value of persuasion by experts," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 174(C), pages 103-123.
    5. Aristidou, Andreas & Coricelli, Giorgio & Vostroknutov, Alexander, 2019. "Incentives or Persuasion? An Experimental Investigation," Research Memorandum 012, Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Disagreement; Bayesian persuasion; Strategic experimentation; Voting;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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