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Information and Extremism in Elections

  • Raphael Boleslavsky

    (Department of Economics, University of Miami)

  • Christopher Cotton

    (Department of Economics, University of Miami)

We show that informative political campaigns can increase political extremism and decrease voter welfare. We present a model of elections in which candidate ideology is strategically selected prior to a campaign which reveals information about candidate quality. Documented means by which campaigns can harm voters are not present in our model; special interest groups, fundraising, and biased or private information are not part of the analysis. Even under these optimistic assumptions, informative campaigns have negative consequences. Our results have implications regarding media coverage, the number of debates, and campaign finance reform.

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File URL: http://bus.miami.edu/_assets/files/repec/WP2013-04.pdf
File Function: First version, 2012
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University of Miami, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2013-04.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: 04 Nov 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mia:wpaper:2013-04
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Web page: http://www.bus.miami.edu/faculty-and-research/academic-departments/economics/index.html

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  1. Micael Castanheira De Moura & Juan Carrillo, 2008. "Information and strategic political polarization," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/10003, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  2. Andrea Mattozzi & Antonio Merlo, 2007. "The Transparency of Politics and the Quality of Politicians," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 311-315, May.
  3. Andrea Prat, 2002. "The Wrong Kind of Transparency," STICERD - Theoretical Economics Paper Series 439, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  4. Ingemar Hansson & Charles Stuart, 1984. "Voting competitions with interested politicians: Platforms do not converge to the preferences of the median voter," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 44(3), pages 431-441, January.
  5. Kittsteiner, Thomas & Eyster, Erik, 2007. "Party platforms in electoral competition with heterogeneous constituencies," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 2(1), pages 41-70, March.
  6. Dan Bernhardt & Odilon C�mara & Francesco Squintani, 2011. "Competence and Ideology," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(2), pages 487-522.
  7. Bengt Holmstrom, 1997. "Moral Hazard and Observability," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1205, David K. Levine.
  8. Nicolas Sahuguet & Nicola Persico, 2006. "Campaign spending regulation in a model of redistributive politics," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 95-124, 05.
  9. Holmstrom, Bengt, 1999. "Managerial Incentive Problems: A Dynamic Perspective," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 169-82, January.
  10. Potters, Jan & Sloof, Randolph & van Winden, Frans, 1997. "Campaign expenditures, contributions and direct endorsements: The strategic use of information and money to influence voter behavior," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 1-31, February.
  11. Prat, A., 1997. "Campaign Advertising and Voter Welfare," Discussion Paper 1997-118, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  12. Aragones, Enriqueta & Palfrey, Thomas. R., 2000. "Mixed Equilibrium in a Downsian Model With a Favored Candidate," Working Papers 1102, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  13. Stephen Coate, 2004. "Political Competition with Campaign Contributions and Informative Advertising," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(5), pages 772-804, 09.
  14. Herrera, Helios & Levine, David K. & Martinelli, César, 2008. "Policy platforms, campaign spending and voter participation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 501-513, April.
  15. Mathias Dewatripont & Ian Jewitt & Jean Tirole, 1999. "The economics of career concerns: part 1 :comparing information structures," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9617, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  16. Palda, Filip & Palda, Kristian, 1998. " The Impact of Campaign Expenditures on Political Competition in the French Legislative Elections of 1993," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 94(1-2), pages 157-74, January.
  17. Alberto Alesina & Richard Holden, 2008. "Ambiguity and Extremism in Elections," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000002358, David K. Levine.
  18. Giuseppe Moscarini & Marco Ottaviani, 1998. "Price Competition for an Informed Buyer," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1199, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
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