Directional Cheap Talk in Electoral Campaigns

37 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2014 Last revised: 19 Sep 2015

See all articles by Keith E. Schnakenberg

Keith E. Schnakenberg

Washington University in St. Louis - Department of Political Science

Date Written: September 19, 2015


Can campaign communications credibly transmit information about candidates' policy intentions? To answer this question, I develop and analyze a game-theoretic model of campaign communication in a two-candidate majority rule election with multidimensional policies. Candidate and voter preferences are private information and campaigns consist of both candidates sending cheap talk messages in order to communicate information about their preferences. The game possesses equilibria involving informative campaign messages which reveal information about the directions of the candidates' ideal points from the center of the policy space but leave the voters uncertain about which candidate is more extreme.

Keywords: cheap talk, signaling, elections

JEL Classification: D70, D71, D72, D78, D82, D83

Suggested Citation

Schnakenberg, Keith E., Directional Cheap Talk in Electoral Campaigns (September 19, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Keith E. Schnakenberg (Contact Author)

Washington University in St. Louis - Department of Political Science ( email )

One Brookings Drive
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130
United States

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