A Mechanism for Evaluating the Relevance of Credibility Problems in Politics

21 Pages Posted: 17 Apr 2009 Last revised: 29 Oct 2014

See all articles by Francisco R. Rodriguez

Francisco R. Rodriguez

Wesleyan University - Department of Economics

Eduardo Zambrano

California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo - Economics

Date Written: September 13, 2014

Abstract

In this paper we develop a test of whether parties are capable of making credible promises in single-issue elections in which the parties have preferences over policies. Two observations are key: (1) Parties that can commit to speci…fic policies do not adopt platforms that entail large probabilities of losing the election. This is because the adoption of very extreme platforms has the effect of shifting voter’s expectations, and expected policies, away from the party’s most preferred policy. (2) Parties who lack the capacity of making credible commitments are unable to affect voters’ expectations about the policies they will adopt upon reaching office. This is because, absent commitment, voters know that a party will simply adopt its most preferred policy after it wins the election. These observations about voter’s expectations and party behavior form the basis for the test.

Keywords: Credibility and commitment, political competition

JEL Classification: D72, D78

Suggested Citation

Rodriguez, Francisco R. and Zambrano, Eduardo, A Mechanism for Evaluating the Relevance of Credibility Problems in Politics (September 13, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1390822 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1390822

Francisco R. Rodriguez

Wesleyan University - Department of Economics ( email )

238 Church Street
Middletown, CT 06459-0007
United States

Eduardo Zambrano (Contact Author)

California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo - Economics ( email )

Orfalea College of Business
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407
United States
805-756-5327 (Phone)
805-756-1473 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://calpoly.edu/~ezambran

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
45
Abstract Views
772
PlumX Metrics