Set Them (Almost) Free. Discretion in Electoral Campaigns Under Asymmetric Information
22 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2016
Date Written: December 6, 2016
The paper analyses a model of electoral campaigning as a problem of competitive delegation. We model a situation in which there is uncertainty about what the optimal policy should be and about the extent of candidates’ bias. While voters know whether the candidate is left or right wing, the bias measures the extremity of the candidate. In this environment discretion may benefit voters as it allows the elected politician to adjust his policies to the state of the world. The paper shows that the optimal set of promises must be a closed interval, whose size is decreasing in the expected bias of the candidate. An example where the set of types is finite shows that an increase in the variability of candidates’ types may either increase or decrease the level of discretion granted to politicians.
Keywords: Electoral campaigns, Ideological bias, Uncertainty
JEL Classification: D72, D82
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation