Punching above One's Weight: The Case against Election Campaigns

Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper 10-056/1

26 Pages Posted: 24 Jun 2010

See all articles by Marco A. Haan

Marco A. Haan

University of Groningen

Bart Los

University of Groningen - Faculty of Economics

Sander Onderstal

University of Amsterdam; Tinbergen Institute

Yohanes E. Riyanto

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) - Division of Economics

Date Written: June 10, 2010

Abstract

Politicians differ in their ability to implement some policy. In an election, candidates make commitments regarding the plans they will try to implement if elected. These serve as a signal of true ability. In equilibrium, candidates make overambitious promises. The candidate with the highest ability wins. Yet, the electorate may be better off having a random candidate implement her best plan, rather than seeing the winner implementing an overambitious plan. This is more likely if the ability distribution is skewed toward high values, the number of candidates is high, with private benefits from being elected, or if parties select candidates.

Keywords: election promises, signalling

JEL Classification: D72

Suggested Citation

Haan, Marco A. and Los, Bart and Onderstal, Sander and Riyanto, Yohanes E., Punching above One's Weight: The Case against Election Campaigns (June 10, 2010). Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper 10-056/1. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1628542 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1628542

Marco A. Haan (Contact Author)

University of Groningen ( email )

P.O. Box 800
9700 AV Groningen
Netherlands
+31 50 363 7327 (Phone)
+31 50 363 7227 (Fax)

Bart Los

University of Groningen - Faculty of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 800
9700 AV Groningen
Netherlands
+31 (0)50 3637317 (Phone)

Sander Onderstal

University of Amsterdam ( email )

Roetersstraat 11
Amsterdam, 1018 WB
Netherlands

Tinbergen Institute ( email )

Burg. Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062 PA
Netherlands

Yohanes E. Riyanto

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) - Division of Economics ( email )

HSS 04-53, 14 Nanyang Drive
Singapore, 639798
Singapore

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
19
Abstract Views
369
PlumX Metrics