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Manipulated voters in competitive election campaigns

Author

Listed:
  • Kemal K?vanc Akoz

    () (Department of Economics, New York University, 19 W. 4th Street, 6FL, New York, NY 10012)

  • Cemal Eren Arbatli

    () (Department of Economics, National Research University-Higher School of Economics, 26 Shabolovka Street, Building 3, 3116A, Moscow, Russia)

Abstract

We provide a game-theoretical model of manipulative election campaigns with two political candidates and a continuum of Bayesian voters. Voters are uncertain about candidate positions, which are exogenously given and lie on a unidimensional policy space. Candidates take unobservable, costly actions to manipulate a campaign signal that would otherwise be fully informative about a candidate’s distance from voters relative to the other candidate. We show that if the candidates differ in campaigning efficiency, and voters receive the manipulated signal with an individual, random noise, then the cost-efficient candidate wins the election even if she is more distant from the electorate than her opponent is. In contrast to the existing election campaign models that do not support information manipulation in equilibrium, our paper rationalizes misleading political advertising and suggests that limits on campaign spending may potentially improve the quality of information available to the electorate

Suggested Citation

  • Kemal K?vanc Akoz & Cemal Eren Arbatli, 2013. "Manipulated voters in competitive election campaigns," HSE Working papers WP BRP 31/EC/2013, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hig:wpaper:31/ec/2013
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Chris Edmond, 2013. "Information Manipulation, Coordination, and Regime Change," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(4), pages 1422-1458.
    2. Jason G. Cummins & Ingmar Nyman, 2005. "The Dark Side of Competitive Pressure," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(2), pages 361-397, Summer.
    3. Stefano DellaVigna & Ethan Kaplan, 2007. "The Fox News Effect: Media Bias and Voting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1187-1234.
    4. Riccardo Puglisi & James M. Snyder, Jr., 2008. "Media Coverage of Political Scandals," NBER Working Papers 14598, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Heidhues, Paul & Lagerlof, Johan, 2003. "Hiding information in electoral competition," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 48-74, January.
    6. Ruben Durante & Brian Knight, 2012. "Partisan Control, Media Bias, And Viewer Responses: Evidence From Berlusconi'S Italy," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 451-481, May.
    7. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2006. "Media Bias and Reputation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(2), pages 280-316, April.
    8. Ekmekci, Mehmet, 2009. "Manipulation through political endorsements," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(3), pages 1227-1248, May.
    9. Martinelli, Cesar, 2001. "Elections with Privately Informed Parties and Voters," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 108(1-2), pages 147-167, July.
    10. Wittman, Donald, 1989. "Why Democracies Produce Efficient Results," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1395-1424, December.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Hidden actions; election campaigns; manipulation; propaganda; bias.;

    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
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations

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