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Centrist's Curse? An Electoral Competition Model with Credibility Constraints

  • Selim Ergun

    ()

    (Department of Economic Theory and Economic History, University of Granada.)

I analyze a model of electoral competition in which a candidate?s reputation and his need of cred- ibility restricts his policy choice to a certain subset of the policy space, its ideology set. Candidates are o¢ ce-motivated. They care about winning and also about the share of votes they get. I consider both two and three party systems. I describe the equilibrium outcomes assuming that plurality rule applies, and obtain for two party competition, in some cases, equilibrium outcomes di¤erent than what the median voter theorem suggests because of the restrictions on the ideology sets implied by the credibility constraints. I show that centrist parties are disadvantaged compared to leftist and rightist ones, since, in equilibrium, leftist and rightist parties choose policy points that are as close as possible to each other and obtain votes from the centrist parties?ideology set. A centrist candidate needs a higher concentration of voters in his credibility set compared to his opponents in order to have a chance to win. I also analyze a run-off system for three parties and show that centrist parties have more opportunities to win under this rule than under plurality rule.

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File URL: http://www.ugr.es/~teoriahe/RePEc/gra/wpaper/thepapers08_06.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada. in its series ThE Papers with number 08/06.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: 23 Oct 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:gra:wpaper:08/06
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  1. Osborne Martin J., 1993. "Candidate Positioning and Entry in a Political Competition," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 133-151, January.
  2. Casamatta, Georges & De Donder, Philippe, 2003. "On the Influence of Extreme Parties in Electoral Competition with Policy-Motivated Candidates," IDEI Working Papers 161, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  3. Callander, Steven, 1999. "Electoral Competition with Entry," Working Papers 1083, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  4. Alesina, Alberto, 1988. "Credibility and Policy Convergence in a Two-Party System with Rational Voters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 796-805, September.
  5. Larry Samuelson, 1984. "Electoral equilibria with restricted strategies," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 307-327, January.
  6. Enriqueta Aragonès & Thomas Palfrey & Andrew Postlewaite, 2007. "Political Reputations and Campaign Promises," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(4), pages 846-884, 06.
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