Campaign Promises and Political Factions
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.
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