False Alarm? Terror Alerts and Reelection
We study a game with asymmetric information to analyze whether an incumbent can improve his reelection prospects using distorted terror alerts. The voters’ preferred candidate depends on the true terror threat level, and the voters are rational and therefore aware of the incumbent’s incentive to distort alerts. In equilibrium, a moderately “Machiavellian” incumbent reports low and high threat levels truthfully, but issues the same distorted alert for a range of intermediate threat levels. He thereby ensures his reelection for some threat levels at which he would not be reelected under full information.
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