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An empirical analysis of valence in electoral competition

Author

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  • Fabian Gouret

    () (THEMA - Théorie économique, modélisation et applications - Université de Cergy Pontoise - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Guillaume Hollard

    (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics)

  • Stéphane Rossignol

    () (LED - Laboratoire d'Economie Dionysien - UP8 - Université Paris 8, Vincennes-Saint-Denis)

Abstract

Spatial models of voting have dominated mathematical political theory since the seminal work of Downs. The Downsian model assumes that each elector votes on the basis of his utility function which depends only on the distance between his preferred policy platform and the ones proposed by candidates. A succession of papers introduces valence issues into the model, i.e., candidates' characteristics which are independent of the platforms they propose. So far, little is known about which of the existing utility functions used in valence models is the most empirically founded. Using a large survey run prior to the 2007 French presidential election, we evaluate and compare several spatial voting models with valence. Existing models perform poorly in fitting the data. However, strong empirical regularities emerge. This leads us to a new model of valence that we call the intensity valence model. This new model makes sense theoretically and is grounded empirically.

Suggested Citation

  • Fabian Gouret & Guillaume Hollard & Stéphane Rossignol, 2011. "An empirical analysis of valence in electoral competition," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00867711, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:cesptp:halshs-00867711 Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00867711
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Martin J. Osborne, 1995. "Spatial Models of Political Competition under Plurality Rule: A Survey of Some Explanations of the Number of Candidates and the Positions They Take," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 28(2), pages 261-301, May.
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    12. Aragones, Enriqueta & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2002. "Mixed Equilibrium in a Downsian Model with a Favored Candidate," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 131-161, March.
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    19. Guillaume Hollard & Stéphane Rossignol, 2008. "An Alternative Approach to Valence Advantage in Spatial Competition," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 10(3), pages 441-454, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Motz, Nicolas, 2012. "Who emerges from smoke-filled rooms? Political parties and candidate selection," MPRA Paper 42678, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Menezes, Mozart B.C. & da Silveira, Giovani J.C. & Drezner, Zvi, 2016. "Democratic elections and centralized decisions: Condorcet and Approval Voting compared with Median and Coverage locations," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 253(1), pages 195-203.
    3. Lionel Page & Paul Antoine-Chevalier, 2016. "Zoon politikon or homo oeconomicus ? How do people vote?," QuBE Working Papers 037, QUT Business School.

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    Keywords

    valence; downs; empirical foundation;

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