Elections, Information, and State-Dependent Candidate Quality

27 Pages Posted: 20 Mar 2013

Date Written: February 20, 2013

Abstract

The quality of political candidates often depends on the current state of the world, for example because their personal characteristics are more valuable in some situations than in others. We explore the implications of state-dependent candidate quality in a model of electoral competition where voters are uncertain about the state. Candidates are fully informed and completely office-motivated. With a reasonable restriction on voters' beliefs, an equilibrium where candidates' positions reveal the true state does not exist. Non-revealing equilibria always exist. Some main findings are that canddates' positions can diverge more in equilibrium when they differ more in state-dependent quality and when the electorate is less well informed.

Keywords: electoral competition, candidate quality, uncertainty, information, polarization

JEL Classification: D72

Suggested Citation

Jensen, Thomas, Elections, Information, and State-Dependent Candidate Quality (February 20, 2013). Univ. of Copenhagen Dept. of Economics Discussion Paper No. 13-03. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2236049 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2236049

Thomas Jensen (Contact Author)

University of Copenhagen ( email )

Nørregade 10
Copenhagen, København DK-1165
Denmark

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