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Extremism, Campaigning and Ambiguity

  • Westermark, Andreas

    ()

    (Department of Economics)

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.

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File URL: http://www.nek.uu.se/pdf/1999wp9.pdf
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Paper provided by Uppsala University, Department of Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 1999:9.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: 11 May 1999
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Games and Economic Behavior, 2004, pages 421-452.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:uunewp:1999_009
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P. O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden

Phone: + 46 18 471 25 00
Fax: + 46 18 471 14 78
Web page: http://www.nek.uu.se/
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  1. Martin J Osborne & Ariel Rubinstein, 2009. "A Course in Game Theory," Levine's Bibliography 814577000000000225, UCLA Department of Economics.
  2. Mas-Colell,Andreu, 1985. "The Theory of General Economic Equilibrium," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521265140, November.
  3. 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.
  4. Banks, Jeffrey S., 1990. "A model of electoral competition with incomplete information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 309-325, April.
  5. Chappell, Henry W, Jr, 1994. "Campaign Advertising and Political Ambiguity," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 79(3-4), pages 281-303, June.
  6. Cukierman, Alex & Alesina, Alberto, 1990. "The Politics of Ambiguity," Scholarly Articles 4552530, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Ignacio Ortuno Ortin & Christian Schultz, 2000. "Public Funding of Political Parties," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0735, Econometric Society.
  8. Larry Samuelson, 1984. "Electoral equilibria with restricted strategies," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 307-327, January.
  9. Joseph E. Harrington, 1992. "The Revelation Of Information Through The Electoral Process: An Exploratory Analysis," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(3), pages 255-276, November.
  10. Banks, Jeffrey S & Sobel, Joel, 1987. "Equilibrium Selection in Signaling Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 647-61, May.
  11. In-Koo Cho & David M. Kreps, 1997. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," Levine's Working Paper Archive 896, David K. Levine.
  12. Harrington Jr. , Joseph E., 1993. "The Impact of Reelection Pressures on the Fulfillment of Campaign Promises," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 71-97, January.
  13. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1996. "Electoral Competition and Special Interest Politics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(2), pages 265-286.
  14. Christian Schultz, 1996. "Polarization and Inefficient Policies," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(2), pages 331-344.
  15. Harrington, Joseph Jr. & Hess, Gregory D., 1996. "A Spatial Theory of Positive and Negative Campaigning," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 209-229, December.
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