Electoral Competition with Rationally Inattentive Voters

54 Pages Posted: 4 May 2016

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: January 2016

Abstract

How do voters allocate costly attention to alternative political issues? And how does selective ignorance of voters interact with policy design by politicians? We address these questions by developing a model of electoral competition with rationally inattentive voters. Rational inattention amplifies the effects of preference intensity, because voters pay more attention where stakes are higher. The model has many potential applications, and those that we discuss in more detail imply that extremist voters are more attentive and inuential, public goods are under-provided, divisive issues receive more attention, and less transparent candidates choose more extreme policies. Endogenous attention can also lead to multiple equilibria, explaining how poor voters in developing countries can be politically empowered by welfare programs.

Keywords: electoral competition, policy design, rational inattention

JEL Classification: D830, D720

Suggested Citation

Matějka, Filip and Tabellini, Guido, Electoral Competition with Rationally Inattentive Voters (January 2016). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 5849, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2774041 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2774041

Filip Matějka

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 (Contact Author)

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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