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On the existence of Nash equilibrium in electoral competition

  • Alejandro Saporiti

    (Queen Mary, University of London)

This paper generalizes previous existence results on unidimensional electoral competition, by extending the traditional two-party electoral game to the case where parties have mixed motivations, in the sense that they are interested in winning the election, but also in the policy implemented after the contest. Although this game has discontinuous payoffs, it satisfies payoff security and reciprocally upper semi- continuity. However, conditional payoffs might violate quasi-concavity. Hence, our first result shows that the existence of a pure-strategy Nash equilibrium can be guaranteed only if parties' interests are symmetric. Instead, we prove that the mixed extension satisfies better reply security and, therefore, that a mixed-strategy equilibrium always exists. We also characterize the set of equilibria for a tractable version of the model. This shows that the interaction between the electoral uncertainty, the aggregate level of opportunism and its distribution among parties shape the equilibrium strategies. In particular, when the opportunism is large and asymmetrically distributed, the support of each mixed-strategy equilibrium is a closed interval located on one side of the median. Further, as the uncertainty increases, the probability distributions concentrate on the extremes of the support. And the mixed-strategy equilibrium vanishes above a critical level, over which each party plays a pure strategy in its own ideological side.

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File URL: http://128.118.178.162/eps/game/papers/0504/0504005.pdf
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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Game Theory and Information with number 0504005.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: 11 Apr 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpga:0504005
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 27
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://128.118.178.162

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  1. Bernhardt, Dan & Duggan, John & Squintani, Francesco, 2007. "Electoral competition with privately-informed candidates," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 1-29, January.
  2. Enriqueta Aragonès & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2004. "Electoral Competition Between Between Two Candidates of Different Quality: The Effects of Candidate Ideology and Private Information," Working Papers 60, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  3. Alejandro Saporiti & Fernando Tohmé, 2003. "Single-Crossing, Strategic Voting and the Median Choice Rule," CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. 237, Universidad del CEMA.
  4. John E. Roemer, 1997. "Political-economic equilibrium when parties represent constituents: The unidimensional case," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 479-502.
  5. B. Dutta & J-F. Laslier, 1998. "Comparison functions and choice correspondences," THEMA Working Papers 98-12, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
  6. 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.
  7. Aragones, Enriqueta & Palfrey, Thomas. R., 2000. "Mixed Equilibrium in a Downsian Model With a Favored Candidate," Working Papers 1102, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  8. Ignacio Ortuño Orti´n, 2002. "Ideological versus Downsian political competition," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 19(3), pages 551-567.
  9. Laffond G. & Laslier J. F. & Le Breton M., 1993. "The Bipartisan Set of a Tournament Game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 182-201, January.
  10. Dasgupta, Partha & Maskin, Eric, 1986. "The Existence of Equilibrium in Discontinuous Economic Games, I: Theory," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(1), pages 1-26, January.
  11. Jean-FranÚois Laslier, 2000. "Interpretation of electoral mixed strategies," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 283-292.
  12. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
  13. Coughlin, Peter J, 1990. " Majority Rule and Election Models," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(2), pages 157-88.
  14. Philip J. Reny, 1999. "On the Existence of Pure and Mixed Strategy Nash Equilibria in Discontinuous Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(5), pages 1029-1056, September.
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