Manipulated Voters in Competitive Election Campaigns

36 Pages Posted: 20 Jun 2013

See all articles by Kemal Kivanc Aköz

Kemal Kivanc Aköz

New York University Abu Dhabi

Cemal Eren Arbatli

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 29, 2013

Abstract

We provide a game-theoretical model of manipulative election campaigns with two political candidates and a continuum of Bayesian voters. Voters are uncertain about candidate positions, which are exogenously given and lie on a unidimensional policy space. Candidates take unobservable, costly actions to manipulate a campaign signal that would otherwise be fully informative about a candidate’s distance from voters relative to the other candidate. We show that if the candidates differ in campaigning efficiency, and voters receive the manipulated signal with an individual, random noise, then the cost-efficient candidate wins the election even if she is more distant from the electorate than her opponent is. In contrast to the existing election campaign models that do not support information manipulation in equilibrium, our paper rationalizes misleading political advertising and suggests that limits on campaign spending may potentially improve the quality of information available to the electorate.

Keywords: Hidden actions, election campaigns, manipulation, propaganda, bias

JEL Classification: C72, D72, D82, D84

Suggested Citation

Aköz, Kemal and Arbatli, Cemal Eren, Manipulated Voters in Competitive Election Campaigns (May 29, 2013). Higher School of Economics Research Paper No. WP BRP 31/EC/2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2281870 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2281870

Kemal Aköz

New York University Abu Dhabi ( email )

New York University Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi 129188
United Arab Emirates

Cemal Eren Arbatli (Contact Author)

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

26 Shabolovka Street
1215
Moscow, 119049
Russia

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/erenarbatli/home

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