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Extremism, Campaigning and Ambiguity

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  • Westermark, Andreas

    (Department of Economics)

Abstract

This paper studies a model of how political parties use resources for campaigning to inform voters. We show existence of equilibrium under mild assumptions for an arbitrary number of parties. The main result is that if the parties are more extreme, then they spend less resources on campaigning (on average), compared with moderate parties. The reason is the following. Consider voters that are informed by one party only, say party 1. If both parties move closer to each other, then the actual and expected platform moves closer to the indifferent voters peak. By concavity of preferences, the increase in payoff of voting for the party that informed is bigger than the increase in payoff of voting for the other party. Thus, the previously indifferent voter now strictly prefers party 1. The effect makes parties gain more votes by informing when parties are moderate. Since spending increases, voters are (on average) more informed when parties are moderates.

Suggested Citation

  • Westermark, Andreas, 1999. "Extremism, Campaigning and Ambiguity," Working Paper Series 1999:9, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:uunewp:1999_009
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    Cited by:

    1. Elie Appelbaum & Eliakim Katz, 2007. "Political extremism in the presence of a free rider problem," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 133(1), pages 31-40, October.
    2. Prato, Carlo & Wolton, Stephane, 2018. "Rational ignorance, populism, and reform," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 119-135.
    3. Westermark, Andreas, 2001. "Campaigning and Ambiguity when Parties Cannot Make Credible Election Promises," Working Paper Series 568, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    4. Elie Appelbaum, 2006. "Strategic extremism," Working Papers 2006_12, York University, Department of Economics.
    5. Prato, Carlo & Wolton, Stephane, 2013. "Rational Ignorance, Elections, and Reform," MPRA Paper 68638, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 10 Dec 2015.
    6. Pablo Amorós & M. Puy, 2013. "Issue convergence or issue divergence in a political campaign?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 155(3), pages 355-371, June.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Political Parties; Campaigning;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D89 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Other

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