IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/hcx/wpaper/1306.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Impact of Political Uncertainty: A Robust Control Approach

Author

Listed:
  • Robert Baumann

    () (Department of Economics, College of the Holy Cross)

  • Justin Svec

    () (Department of Economics, College of the Holy Cross)

Abstract

In this paper, we examine how candidate uncertainty affects the policy platforms chosen in a uni-dimensional, two candidate Downsian spatial model. The candidates, we assume, do not know the true distribution of voters. Following the robust control literature, candidates respond to this uncertainty by applying a max-min operator to their optimization problem. This approach, consistent with findings within the behavioral economics literature, protects the candidate by ensuring that her expected utility never falls too far, regardless of the true voter distribution. We show that this framework produces policy convergence between the two candidates but there is a multiplicity of possible policy platforms upon which the candidates could settle, some of which could be quite distant from the median voter. These results are robust to the timing of the game and the level of uncertainty faced by the candidates. We argue that our model explains drift, which is our term for changing political beliefs over time. While drift may be caused by shifting attitudes or demographics, we show that drift could also be the result of candidate uncertainty.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Baumann & Justin Svec, 2013. "The Impact of Political Uncertainty: A Robust Control Approach," Working Papers 1306, College of the Holy Cross, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hcx:wpaper:1306
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://web.holycross.edu/RePEc/hcx/HC1306-Baumann-Svec_PoliticalUncertainty.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Levin, Andrew T. & Williams, John C., 2003. "Robust monetary policy with competing reference models," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(5), pages 945-975, July.
    2. Hansen, Lars Peter & Sargent, Thomas J., 2007. "Recursive robust estimation and control without commitment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 136(1), pages 1-27, September.
    3. Leitemo, Kai & Söderström, Ulf, 2008. "Robust Monetary Policy In The New Keynesian Framework," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(S1), pages 126-135, April.
    4. Dennis, Richard & Leitemo, Kai & Söderström, Ulf, 2009. "Methods for robust control," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 33(8), pages 1604-1616, August.
    5. Dennis, Richard, 2010. "How robustness can lower the cost of discretion," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(6), pages 653-667, September.
    6. Enriqueta Aragones & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2003. "Spatial Competition Between Two Candidates of Different Quality: The Effects of Candidate Ideology and Private Information," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 573.03, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
    7. 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.
    8. Chahrour, Ryan & Svec, Justin, 2014. "Optimal capital taxation and consumer uncertainty," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 178-198.
    9. Hansen, Lars Peter & Sargent, Thomas J., 2005. "Robust estimation and control under commitment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 124(2), pages 258-301, October.
    10. Joshua Congdon-Hohman & Anil Nathan & Justin Svec, 2013. "Student Uncertainty and Major Choice," Working Papers 1301, College of the Holy Cross, Department of Economics.
    11. Mohammed Abdellaoui & Aurelien Baillon & Laetitia Placido & Peter P. Wakker, 2011. "The Rich Domain of Uncertainty: Source Functions and Their Experimental Implementation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 695-723, April.
    12. Svec, Justin, 2012. "Optimal fiscal policy with robust control," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 349-368.
    13. Yoram Halevy, 2007. "Ellsberg Revisited: An Experimental Study," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(2), pages 503-536, March.
    14. Karantounias, Anastasios G., 2013. "Managing pessimistic expectations and fiscal policy," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 8(1), January.
    15. David Ahn & Syngjoo Choi & Douglas Gale & Shachar Kariv, 2014. "Estimating ambiguity aversion in a portfolio choice experiment," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 5, pages 195-223, July.
    16. Peter Bossaerts & Paolo Ghirardato & Serena Guarnaschelli & William R. Zame, 2010. "Ambiguity in Asset Markets: Theory and Experiment," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(4), pages 1325-1359, April.
    17. Camerer, Colin & Weber, Martin, 1992. "Recent Developments in Modeling Preferences: Uncertainty and Ambiguity," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 325-370, October.
    18. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135-135.
    19. Banks, Jeffrey S., 1990. "A model of electoral competition with incomplete information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 309-325, April.
    20. Barillas, Francisco & Hansen, Lars Peter & Sargent, Thomas J., 2009. "Doubts or variability?," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(6), pages 2388-2418, November.
    21. Navin Kartik & R. Preston McAfee, 2007. "Signaling Character in Electoral Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 852-870, June.
    22. James Enelow & Melvin Hinich, 1989. "A general probabilistic spatial theory of elections," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 61(2), pages 101-113, May.
    23. repec:cup:apsrev:v:57:y:1963:i:02:p:368-377_24 is not listed on IDEAS
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Robust control; candidate uncertainty; voting; spatial model;

    JEL classification:

    • H00 - Public Economics - - General - - - General
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hcx:wpaper:1306. 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: (Victor Matheson). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/deholus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.