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A median voter theorem for postelection politics


We analyze a model of "postelection politics", in which (unlike in the more common Downsian models of "preelection politics") politicians cannot make binding commitments prior to elections. The game begins with an incumbent politician in office, and voters adopt reelection strategies that are contingent on the policies implemented by the incumbent. We generalize previous models of this type by introducing heterogeneity in voters' ideological preferences, and analyze how voters' reelection strategies constrain the policies chosen by a rent-maximizing incumbent. We first show that virtually any policy (and any feasible level of rent for the incumbent) can be sustained in a Nash equilibrium. Then, we derive a "median voter theorem": the ideal point of the median voter, and the minimum feasible level of rent, are the unique outcomes in any strong Nash equilibrium. We then introduce alternative refinements that are less restrictive. In particular, Ideologically Loyal Coalition-proof equilibrium also leads uniquely to the median outcome

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Paper provided by ERMES, University Paris 2 in its series Working Papers ERMES with number 0401.

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Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:erm:papers:0401
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  1. Wittman, Donald, 1977. "Candidates with policy preferences: A dynamic model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 180-189, February.
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  13. Kenneth Rogoff, 1987. "Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles," NBER Working Papers 2428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Dharmapala, Dhammika, 1999. "Comparing tax expenditures and direct subsidies: the role of legislative committee structure," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(3), pages 421-454, June.
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  17. Dixit, Avinash & Grossman, Gene M. & Helpman, Elhanan, 1997. "Common Agency and Coordination: General Theory and Application to Government Policy Making," Scholarly Articles 3450061, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  18. Georges Casamatta, 2003. "The Political Power of the Retirees in a Two-Dimensional Voting Model," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 5(4), pages 571-591, October.
  19. Kenneth Rogoff & Anne Sibert, 1986. "Elections and Macroeconomic Policy Cycles," NBER Working Papers 1838, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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