Electoral Competition with Rationally Inattentive Voters

CERGE-EI Working Paper Series No. 552

55 Pages Posted: 4 Nov 2015

See all articles by Filip Matějka

Filip Matějka

Charles University in Prague - CERGE-EI (Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute)

Guido Tabellini

Bocconi University - Department of Economics; Bocconi University - IGIER - Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research; Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research (CESifo)

Multiple version iconThere are 4 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 2015

Abstract

This paper studies how voters optimally allocate costly attention in a model of probabilistic voting. The equilibrium solves a modified social planning problem that reflects voters' choice of attention. Voters are more attentive when their stakes are higher, when their cost of information is lower and prior uncertainty is higher. We explore the implications of this in a variety of applications. In equilibrium, extremist voters are more influential and public goods are under-provided. The analysis also yields predictions about the equilibrium pattern of information, and about policy divergence by two opportunistic candidates. Endogenous attention can lead to multiple equilibria, explaining how poor voters in developing countries can be politically empowered by welfare programs.

Keywords: electoral competition, limited inattention

JEL Classification: D72, D83

Suggested Citation

Matějka, Filip and Tabellini, Guido, Electoral Competition with Rationally Inattentive Voters (October 2015). CERGE-EI Working Paper Series No. 552, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2685212 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2685212

Filip Matějka (Contact Author)

Charles University in Prague - CERGE-EI (Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute) ( email )

P.O. Box 882
7 Politickych veznu
Prague 1, 111 21
Czech Republic

HOME PAGE: http://www.cerge-ei.cz

Guido Tabellini

Bocconi University - Department of Economics ( email )

Via Gobbi 5
Milan, 20136
Italy

Bocconi University - IGIER - Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research ( email )

Via Roentgen 1
Milan, 20136
Italy

Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research (CESifo)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.CESifo.de

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