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Electoral Competition through Issue Selection

  • Micael Castanheira De Moura
  • Marco Giani
  • Enriqueta Aragonès

Politics must address multiple problems simultaneously. In an ideal world, political competition would force parties to adopt priorities that reflect the voters' true concerns. In reality, parties can run their campaigns in such a way as to manipulate voters' priorities. This phenomenon, known as priming, may allow parties to underinvest in solving the issues that they intend to mute. We develop a model of endogenous issue ownership in which two vote-seeking parties (a) invest in policy quality to increase the value of their platform and (b) choose a communication strategy to prime voters. We identify novel feedback between communication and investment. In particular, we find that stronger priming effects can constrain parties to invest more resources in all issues. We also identify the conditions under which parties prefer to focus on their "historical issues" or to engage in "issue stealing."

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Paper provided by ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles in its series ULB Institutional Repository with number 2013/159851.

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Date of creation: 17 Apr 2014
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Publication status: Forthcoming
Handle: RePEc:ulb:ulbeco:2013/159851
Note: SCOPUS: ar.j
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  1. Josep M. Colomer & Humberto Llavador, 2008. "An Agenda-Setting Model of Electoral Competition," Working Papers 331, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  2. Enriqueta Aragones & Santiago Sanchez-Pages, 2010. "The disadvantage of winning an election," ESE Discussion Papers 194, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  3. AMOROS, Pablo & PUY, M. Socorro, 2007. "Dialogue or issue divergence in the political campaign?," CORE Discussion Papers 2007084, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
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