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Salience: Agenda Choices by Competing Candidates

  • Marcus Berliant

    (Washington University in St. Louis)

  • Hideo Konishi

    (Boston College)

Which issues are discussed by candidates in an election campaign? Why are some issues never discussed? Model tractability is lost quickly when dealing with these questions, partly because of the multidimensional voting inherent in models of multiple issues. Our model features two candidates for office who can talk about any subset of issues, allowing uncertainty both on the part of voters and candidates, and taking candidates to be office motivated. Candidates move first and simultaneously, announcing any positions they choose on any issues. To us, salience is simply the discussion of an issue in a campaign. If both candidates and voters are expected utility maximizers, we find salience results, in that candidates typically want to talk about everything (or they are indifferent between talking and nonsalience). Leaving the expected utility framework, we present an example using “Knightian uncertainty” or “maxmin expected utility with multiple priors” of Gilboa-Schmeidler to illustrate how robust nonsalience and salience of issues might be generated.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Game Theory and Information with number 0407003.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: 30 Jul 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpga:0407003
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 25
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  1. Heath, Chip & Tversky, Amos, 1991. " Preference and Belief: Ambiguity and Competence in Choice under Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 5-28, January.
  2. Adams, James, 1999. " Multiparty Spatial Competition with Probabilistic Voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 99(3-4), pages 259-74, June.
  3. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
  4. Richard Ball, 1999. "Discontinuity and non-existence of equilibrium in the probabilistic spatial voting model," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 533-555.
  5. Glazer, Amihai & Lohmann, Susanne, 1999. " Setting the Agenda: Electoral Competition, Commitment of Policy, and Issue Salience," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 99(3-4), pages 377-94, June.
  6. Ho, Joanna L Y & Keller, L Robin & Keltyka, Pamela, 2002. " Effects of Outcome and Probabilistic Ambiguity on Managerial Choices," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 47-74, January.
  7. Chow, Clare Chua & Sarin, Rakesh K, 2001. " Comparative Ignorance and the Ellsberg Paradox," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 129-39, March.
  8. Cukierman, Alex & Alesina, Alberto, 1990. "The Politics of Ambiguity," Scholarly Articles 4552530, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Enriqueta Aragonés & Andrew Postlewaite, 1999. "Ambiguity in election games," Economics Working Papers 364, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
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