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The pronouncements of paranoid politicians

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  • Guido, Cataife

Abstract

This paper models the strategic encounter of two office-motivated candidates who may or may not announce policy. In the case of no announcement, the voters rank the candidates according to prior beliefs. In the case of announcement, the candidates cannot avoid a degree of noise in the voters' interpretation of their announcements. We show that this simple deviation from the standard Downsian setting suffices to overcome previous impossibility results which suggest that not announcing policy can never occur in equilibrium. Also, we extend the model to study the equilibrium when candidates are ambiguity averse. An ambiguity averse candidate is interpreted as being concerned about an ongoing negative campaign against him. This negative campaign would consist in inducing the voters to adopt some interpretation of the candidate's announcement unfavorable to his electoral performance. We show that under ambiguity aversion the candidates opt not to announce position under less stringent conditions than expected utility. Finally, we use data on U.S. Senate elections to test an empirical implication of the model. We find that the relevant coefficient has the sign predicted by the theory and is statistically significant.

Suggested Citation

  • Guido, Cataife, 2007. "The pronouncements of paranoid politicians," MPRA Paper 4473, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:4473
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/4473/1/MPRA_paper_4473.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gilboa Itzhak & Schmeidler David, 1993. "Updating Ambiguous Beliefs," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 33-49, February.
    2. 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.
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    4. Marcus Berliant & Hideo Konishi, 2005. "Salience: Agenda choices by competing candidates," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 125(1), pages 129-149, July.
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    6. Maccheroni, Fabio & Marinacci, Massimo & Rustichini, Aldo, 2006. "Dynamic variational preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 128(1), pages 4-44, May.
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    9. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
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    12. Enriqueta Aragonés & Andrew Postlewaite, 1999. "Ambiguity in election games," Economics Working Papers 364, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    13. Enriqueta Aragonés & Zvika Neeman, 1994. "Strategic ambiguity in electoral competition," Economics Working Papers 162, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Apr 1996.
    14. Cramer,J. S., 2011. "Logit Models from Economics and Other Fields," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521188036.
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    16. Adams, James, 1999. "Multiparty Spatial Competition with Probabilistic Voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 99(3-4), pages 259-274, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Voting; Salience; Electoral Ambiguity; Ambiguity Aversion; Media Politics;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • C13 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Estimation: General
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games

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