Competition Between Specialized Candidates
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Economics
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)
July 21, 2010
American Political Science Review, Vol. 104, No. 4, pp. 745 -765, 2010
Opposing candidates for a political office often differ in their professional backgrounds and previous political experience, leading to both real and perceived differences in political capabilities. We analyze a formal model in which candidates with different productivities in two policy areas compete for voters by choosing how much money or effort they would allocate to each area if elected.
The model has a unique equilibrium that differs substantially from the standard median-voter model. While candidates compete for the support of a moderate voter type, this cutoff voter differs from the expected median voter.
Moreover, no voter type except the cutoff voter is indifferent between the candidates in equilibrium. The model also predicts that candidates respond to changes in the preferences of voters in a very rigid way.
From a welfare perspective, candidates are "excessively moderate'': Almost certainly, a majority of voters would prefer that the winning candidate focus more on his strength than he does in equilibrium.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 41
Keywords: Issue ownership, differentiated candidates, policy divergence
JEL Classification: D72, D60working papers series
Date posted: January 21, 2010 ; Last revised: January 5, 2011
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