The Politics of Ambiguity
Politicians face a trade-off between the policies that maximize their chances of reelection and their most preferred policies (or the policies most preferred by the constituency which they represent). This paper analyzes this trade-off in a dynamic electoral model in which the voters are not fully informed about the preferences of the incumbent. First, we show that the incumbent follows a policy which is intermediate between the other party's ideal policy and his own ideal policy. Second, we show that, often, the incumbent has an incentive to choose procedures which make it difficult for voters to pinpoint his preferences with absolute precision. Thus, politicians may prefer to be "ambiguous."
|Date of creation:||1990|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||Published in Quarterly Journal of Economics|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Littauer Center, Cambridge, MA 02138|
Web page: http://www.economics.harvard.edu/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Wittman, Donald, 1977. "Candidates with policy preferences: A dynamic model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 180-189, February.
- Alesina, Alberto, 1987. "Macroeconomic Policy in a Two-party System as a Repeated Game," Scholarly Articles 4552531, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Kenneth Rogoff, 1987.
"Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles,"
NBER Working Papers
2428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- McKelvey, Richard D, 1975. "Policy Related Voting and Electoral Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 43(5-6), pages 815-43, Sept.-Nov.
- Alesina, Alberto & Spear, Stephen, 1988.
"An Overlapping Generations Model of Electoral Competition,"
4553015, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Alesina, Alberto & Spear, Stephen E., 1988. "An overlapping generations model of electoral competition," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 359-379, December.
- Alberto Alesina & Stephen E. Spear, 1987. "An Overlapping Generations Model of Electoral Competition," NBER Working Papers 2354, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Hinich, Melvin J., 1977.
"Equilibrium in spatial voting: The median voter result is an artifact,"
Journal of Economic Theory,
Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 208-219, December.
- Hinich, M., 1976. "Equilibrium in Spatial Voting: The Median Voter Result is an Artifact," Working Papers 119, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
- Coughlin, Peter & Nitzan, Shmuel, 1981. "Directional and local electoral equilibria with probabilistic voting," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 226-239, April.
- Kenneth Rogoff & Anne Sibert, 1986.
"Elections and Macroeconomic Policy Cycles,"
NBER Working Papers
1838, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- John Ledyard, 1983.
"The Pure Theory of Large Two Candidate Elections,"
569, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Cukierman, Alex, 1991. "Asymmetric Information and the Electoral Momentum of Public Opinion Polls," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 70(2), pages 181-213, May.
- Cukierman, Alex & Meltzer, Allan H, 1986. "A Positive Theory of Discretionary Policy, the Cost of Democratic Government and the Benefits of a Constitution," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 24(3), pages 367-88, July.
- Alberto Alesina, 1987. "Macroeconomic Policy in a Two-Party System as a Repeated Game," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(3), pages 651-678.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:4552530. 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: (Office for Scholarly Communication)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.