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Ideology Without Ideologists

Author

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  • Lydia Mechtenberg

Abstract

Generally, Democrats do not increase military spending, and Republicans do not raise welfare payments. Mostly, ruling politicians stick to the manifesto of their party. The current paper provides a theoretical explanation for this phenomenon that does not assume politicians or voters to be ideologists. I explore an environment where both voters and politicians always prefer the policy that is adequate to the world state but contradicts the party manifesto over the policy that is in line with the manifesto but not adequate. I find that nevertheless, the inefficient manifesto-driven policy will often result from their interaction. Besides, I show that a high degree of agreement between the politician in office, his party basis and the voter makes efficient, informed policy rare or even impossible. But if homogeneity of convictions within parties is high, swing voter behavior can solve the problem.

Suggested Citation

  • Lydia Mechtenberg, 2007. "Ideology Without Ideologists," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2007-021, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:hum:wpaper:sfb649dp2007-021
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Heidhues, Paul & Lagerlof, Johan, 2003. "Hiding information in electoral competition," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 48-74, January.
    2. 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.
    3. Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 2004. "The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1034-1054, September.
    4. Cukierman, Alex & Tommasi, Mariano, 1998. "When Does It Take a Nixon to Go to China?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 180-197, March.
    5. Farrell Joseph, 1993. "Meaning and Credibility in Cheap-Talk Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 514-531, October.
    6. repec:cup:apsrev:v:95:y:2001:i:03:p:619-631_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Harrington, Joseph E, Jr, 1993. "Economic Policy, Economic Performance, and Elections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 27-42, March.
    8. Cowen, Tyler & Sutter, Daniel, 1998. "Why Only Nixon Could Go to China," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 97(4), pages 605-615, December.
    9. Y. Stephen Chiu, 2002. "On the Feasibility of Unpopular Policies under Re-Election Concerns," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 68(4), pages 841-858, April.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Information transmission; signalling; ideology; intra-party politics; political opinion.;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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