Challengers, Democratic Contestation, and Electoral Accountability
37 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2011 Last revised: 23 Aug 2011
Date Written: 2011
In most models of electoral accountability, the "challenger" is simply a passive replacement. We develop a model in which the challenger can actively criticize the incumbent's policy choices, and we use this model to analyze whether voters can use the challenger's critiques to enhance the incumbent's incentives to choose correct policies. If the challenger's information is soft, then challenger critiques are irrelevant, but if the challenger can obtain hard information the voter can use this information to discipline the incumbent. We extend our model to analyze selection concerns, the incumbency advantage, and incumbents' decisions about whether to focus on making policy or on generating public justifications for their policy choices.
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