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Ambiguity in election games

  • Enriqueta Aragonés
  • Andrew Postlewaite

We construct a model in which the ambiguity of candidates allows them to increase the number of voters to whom they appeal when voters have intense preferences for one of the alternatives available. An ambiguous candidate may offer voters with different preferences the hope that their most preferred alternative will be implemented. We find conditions under which ambiguous strategies are chosen in equilibrium. These conditions include the case in which there is an outcome that is a majority winner against all other outcomes but is not the most preferred outcome for a majority of voters. It is shown that if the number of candidates or parties increases, ambiguity will not be possible in equilibrium, but a larger set of possible policies increases the chance that at least one candidate will choose to be ambiguous in equilibrium.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 364.

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Date of creation: Mar 1999
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Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:364
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  1. Zeckhauser, Richard, 1969. "Majority Rule with Lotteries on Alternatives," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 83(4), pages 696-703, November.
  2. Alberto Alesina & Alex Cukierman, 1987. "The Politics of Ambiguity," NBER Working Papers 2468, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Joseph E. Harrington, 1992. "The Revelation Of Information Through The Electoral Process: An Exploratory Analysis," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(3), pages 255-276, November.
  4. Banks, Jeffrey S., 1990. "A model of electoral competition with incomplete information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 309-325, April.
  5. Enriqueta Aragones & Zvika Neeman, 1994. "Strategic Ambiguity in Electoral Competition," Discussion Papers 1083, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  6. Lizzeri, Alessandro, 1999. "Budget Deficits and Redistributive Politics," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(4), pages 909-28, October.
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