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Campaign Promises and Political Factions

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  • Elena Panova

Abstract

This paper builds a dynamic model of electoral competition with nonbinding campaign promises. We find that campaign promises by a candidate for office signal her political preferences and public policy that she intends to implement. The reason is that electoral competition induces her to pander campaign promises to political interests by a minimal majority of citizens. If their votes bring her in office, she has to raise them once again in order to be re-elected. For that, she needs to fulfill her electoral promises. To minimize the cost of pandering to re-election if in office, a candidate gives campaign promises that she would like to fulfill the most. She fulfills them if in office, unless the cost of fulfillment lies above the benefit from re-election. We show, furthermore, that representatives by a minimal majority of citizens form a faction to coordinate their electoral strategies, and we investigate the consequences of such political collusion.

Suggested Citation

  • Elena Panova, 2008. "Campaign Promises and Political Factions," Cahiers de recherche 0801, CIRPEE.
  • Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:0801
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Massimo Morelli, 2004. "Party Formation and Policy Outcomes under Different Electoral Systems," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(3), pages 829-853.
    2. 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.
    3. Castanheira, Micael & Crutzen, BenoƮt SY & Sahuguet, Nicolas, 2005. "Party Governance and Political Competition with an Application to the American Direct Primacy," CEPR Discussion Papers 4890, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. 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.
    5. Levy, Gilat, 2004. "A model of political parties," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 250-277, April.
    6. 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.
    7. Bernard Caillaud & Jean Tirole, 2002. "Parties as Political Intermediaries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1453-1489.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Electoral promises; pork-barrel politics; political parties;

    JEL classification:

    • 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

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