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Electoral competition under the threat of political unrest

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  • Matthew Ellman
  • Leonard Wantchekon

Abstract

We study elections in which one party (the strong party) controls a source of political unrest; e.g., this party could instigate riots if it lost the election. We show that the strong party is more likely to win the election when there is less information about its ability to cause unrest. This is because when the weak party is better informed, it can more reliably prevent political unrest by implementing a ``centrist'' policy. When there is uncertainty over the credibility of the threat, ``posturing'' by the strong party leads to platform divergence.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthew Ellman & Leonard Wantchekon, 1999. "Electoral competition under the threat of political unrest," Economics Working Papers 457, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  • Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:457
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alesina, Alberto, 1988. "Credibility and Policy Convergence in a Two-Party System with Rational Voters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 796-805, September.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Electoral competition; political unrest; asymmetric information; platform divergence;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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