Imperfectly Informed Voters and Strategic Extremism

33 Pages Posted: 30 May 2017

See all articles by Enriqueta Aragonès

Enriqueta Aragonès

(IAE) Institut d'Administration des Entreprises

Dimitrios Xefteris

University of Cyprus

Date Written: May 2017


We analyze a two‐candidate Downsian model considering that voters use shortcuts (e.g., interest‐group/media endorsements) to infer candidates' policy platforms. That is, voters do not observe candidates' exact platforms but only which candidate offers the more leftist/rightist platform (relative positions). In equilibrium, candidates' behavior tends to maximum extremism, but it may converge or diverge depending on how voters behave when indifferent policywise between the candidates. When the tie‐breaking rule used by the voters is sufficiently fair, candidates converge to the extreme preferred by the median voter, but when it strongly favors a certain candidate, each candidate specializes in a different extreme.

Suggested Citation

Aragonès, Enriqueta and Xefteris, Dimitrios, Imperfectly Informed Voters and Strategic Extremism (May 2017). International Economic Review, Vol. 58, Issue 2, pp. 439-471, 2017. Available at SSRN: or

Enriqueta Aragonès (Contact Author)

(IAE) Institut d'Administration des Entreprises ( email )


Dimitrios Xefteris

University of Cyprus ( email )

75 Kallipoleos Street
P.O. Box 20537
1678 Nicosia

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