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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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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. : Christian Schultz, . "Polarization and Inefficient Policies," Discussion Papers 93-16, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  2. Martin J. Osborne & Ariel Rubinstein, 1994. "A Course in Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262650401, June.
  3. Christian Schultz & Ignacio Ortuno-OrtÍn, 2000. "Public Funding of Political Parties," CESifo Working Paper Series 368, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Cho, In-Koo & Kreps, David M, 1987. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(2), pages 179-221, May.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Banks, Jeffrey S., 1990. "A model of electoral competition with incomplete information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 309-325, April.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Chappell, Henry W, Jr, 1994. " Campaign Advertising and Political Ambiguity," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 79(3-4), pages 281-303, June.
  11. Alesina, Alberto & Cukierman, Alex, 1990. "The Politics of Ambiguity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(4), pages 829-50, November.
  12. Gene Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1994. "Electoral Competition and Special Interest Politics," NBER Working Papers 4877, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Larry Samuelson, 1984. "Electoral equilibria with restricted strategies," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 307-327, January.
  14. Banks, Jeffrey S. & Sobel, Joel., 1985. "Equilibrium Selection in Signaling Games," Working Papers 565, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
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