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Projection Effects and Strategic Ambiguity in Electoral Competition

  • Thomas Jensen

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

Theories from psychology suggest that voters' perceptions of political positions depend on their non-policy related attitudes towards the candidates. A voter who likes (dislikes) a candidate will perceive the candidate's position as closer to (further from) his own than it really is. This is called projection. If voters' perceptions are not counterfactual and voting is based on perceived policy positions then projection gives a generally liked candidate an incentive to be ambiguous. In this paper we construct and analyze a formal model to investigate under which conditions this incentive survives in the strategic setting of electoral competition, even if voters dislike ambiguity per se.

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File URL: http://www.econ.ku.dk/english/research/publications/wp/2007/0712.pdf/
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Paper provided by University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 07-12.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:0712
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  1. Cukierman, Alex & Alesina, Alberto, 1990. "The Politics of Ambiguity," Scholarly Articles 4552530, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Enriqueta Aragones & Zvika Neeman, 1994. "Strategic Ambiguity in Electoral Competition," Discussion Papers 1083, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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