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Electoral Competition through Issue Selection

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  • Micael Castanheira De Moura
  • Marco Giani
  • Enriqueta Aragonès

Abstract

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."

Suggested Citation

  • Micael Castanheira De Moura & Marco Giani & Enriqueta Aragonès, 2015. "Electoral Competition through Issue Selection," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/159851, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:ulb:ulbeco:2013/159851 Note: SCOPUS: ar.j
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Josep Colomer & Humberto Llavador, 2012. "An agenda-setting model of electoral competition," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 73-93, March.
    2. Richard Van Weelden & Massimo Morelli, 2012. "Reelection through Division," 2012 Meeting Papers 111, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Raphaël Soubeyran & Pascal Gautier, 2008. "Political Cycles: Issue Ownership and the Opposition Advantage," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 10(4), pages 685-716, August.
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    5. 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).
    6. Aragonès, Enriqueta & Sánchez-Pagés, Santiago, 2010. "The disadvantage of winning an election," SIRE Discussion Papers 2010-21, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
    7. Sides, John, 2006. "The Origins of Campaign Agendas," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 36(03), pages 407-436, July.
    8. Dan Kovenock J. & Brian Roberson, 2010. "Conflicts with Multiple Battlefields," CESifo Working Paper Series 3165, CESifo Group Munich.
    9. Pablo Amorós & M. Puy, 2013. "Issue convergence or issue divergence in a political campaign?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 155(3), pages 355-371, June.
    10. Massimo Morelli & Richard Van Weelden, 2013. "Ideology and information in policymaking," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 25(3), pages 412-439, July.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ying Chen & Hülya Eraslan, 2017. "Dynamic Agenda Setting," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, pages 1-32.
    2. Antoine Mandel & Xavier Venel, 2017. "Dynamic competition over social networks Dynamic competition over social networks," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-01524453, HAL.
    3. Elliott Ash & Massimo Morelli & Richard Van Weelden, 2015. "Elections and Divisiveness: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 21422, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Denter, Philipp, 2013. "A theory of communication in political campaigns," Economics Working Paper Series 1302, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
    5. Drago, Francesco & Galbiati, Roberto & Sobbrio, Francesco, 2017. "The Political Cost of Being Soft on Crime: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 12097, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Burkhard Schipper & Hee Yeul Woo, 2014. "Political Awareness, Microtargeting of Voters, and Negative Electoral Campaigning," Working Papers 148, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
    7. Prato, Carlo & Wolton, Stephane, 2014. "The Voters' Curses: The Upsides and Downsides of Political Engagement," MPRA Paper 53482, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Prato, Carlo & Wolton, Stephane, 2013. "Rational Ignorance, Elections, and Reform," MPRA Paper 68638, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 10 Dec 2015.
    9. Antoine Mandel & Xavier Venel, 2017. "Dynamic competition over social networks," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 17021, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
    10. Stephen Ansolabehere & M. Socorro Puy, 2015. "Issue-salience, Issue-divisiveness and Voting Decisions," Working Papers 2015-01, Universidad de Málaga, Department of Economic Theory, Málaga Economic Theory Research Center.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government

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