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Set Them (Almost) Free. Discretion in Electoral Campaigns Under Asymmetric Information

22 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2016  

Verdan Baghdasaryan

American University of Armenia

Elena Manzoni

Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca - Department of Economics, Management and Statistics (DEMS)

Date Written: December 6, 2016

Abstract

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

Baghdasaryan, Verdan and Manzoni, Elena, Set Them (Almost) Free. Discretion in Electoral Campaigns Under Asymmetric Information (December 6, 2016). University of Milan Bicocca Department of Economics, Management and Statistics Working Paper No. 354. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2885145 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2885145

Verdan Baghdasaryan

American University of Armenia ( email )

40, Baghramyan Ave.
Yerevan, 0019
United States

Elena Manzoni (Contact Author)

Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca - Department of Economics, Management and Statistics (DEMS) ( email )

Piazza dell'Ateneo Nuovo, 1
Milan, 20126
Italy

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