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Playing for Your Own Audience: Extremism in Two-Party Elections

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  • Gabor Virag

    (Economics University of Rochester)

Abstract

This paper considers a two‐party election with a single‐dimensional policy space. We assume that each voter has a higher probability of observing the position of the party he is affiliated with than the position of the other party, an assumption that is consistent with the National Election Studies (NES) electoral data set. In equilibrium, the two parties locate away from the median, because the voters who dislike a party's platform observe its policy choice with a lower probability, and its own audience like policy choices that cater to its taste. As the asymmetry in voter information or the cost of voting increases, the parties adopt more extreme platforms, while if there are fewer extreme voters the opposite effect occurs. Making voters more symmetrically informed about the two parties' platforms increases the welfare of society, while asymmetric information acquisition by the voters is worse than no information acquisition at all.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Gabor Virag, 2005. "Playing for Your Own Audience: Extremism in Two-Party Elections," 2005 Meeting Papers 350, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed005:350
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Edward L. Glaeser & Giacomo A. M. Ponzetto & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2005. "Strategic Extremism: Why Republicans and Democrats Divide on Religious Values," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(4), pages 1283-1330.
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    Cited by:

    1. John Duggan & César Martinelli, 2008. "The Role of Media Slant in Elections and Economics," Wallis Working Papers WP54, University of Rochester - Wallis Institute of Political Economy.
    2. Benjamin Ogden, 2017. "The Imperfect Beliefs Voting Model," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2017-20, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    3. John Duggan & Cesar Martinelli, 2008. "Rational Expectations and Media Slant," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001844, UCLA Department of Economics.
    4. Shadmehr, Mehdi, 2015. "Extremism in revolutionary movements," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 97-121.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    political extremism; two-party elections; media bias;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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