Elections, Information, and State-Dependent Candidate Quality
27 Pages Posted: 20 Mar 2013
Date Written: February 20, 2013
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
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