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Campaign Spending with Impressionable Voters

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  • Rebecca B. Morton
  • Roger B. Myerson

Abstract

We consider a model of two-candidate elections with a one-dimensional policy space. Spending on campaign advertisements can directly influence voters' preferences, and contributors give the money for campaign spending in exchange for promised services if the candidate wins. we find that the winner of the election depends crucially on the contributors' beliefs about who is likely to win, and the contribution market tends towards nonsymmetric equilibria in which one of the two candidates has no chance of winning. If the voters are only weakly influenced by advertising or if permissible campaign spending is small, then the candidates choose policies close to the median voter's ideal point, but the contributors still determine the winner. Uncertainty about the Condorcet-winning point (or its nonexistence) can change these results and generate equilibria in which both candidates have substantial probabilities of winning.

Suggested Citation

  • Rebecca B. Morton & Roger B. Myerson, 1992. "Campaign Spending with Impressionable Voters," Discussion Papers 1023, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1023
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    File URL: http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/research/math/papers/1023.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rebecca Morton & Charles Cameron, 1992. "Elections And The Theory Of Campaign Contributions: A Survey And Critical Analysis," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(1), pages 79-108, March.
    2. David Austen-Smith, 1987. "Interest groups, campaign contributions, and probabilistic voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 54(2), pages 123-139, January.
    3. David P. Baron, 1989. "Service-Induced Campaign Contributions and the Electoral Equilibrium," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(1), pages 45-72.
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    Cited by:

    1. Enriqueta Aragon├ęs & Zvika Neeman, 1994. "Strategic ambiguity in electoral competition," Economics Working Papers 162, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Apr 1996.

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