Challenger Entry and Voter Learning

31 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2006

See all articles by Sanford C. Gordon

Sanford C. Gordon

New York University (NYU) - Wilf Family Department of Politics

Gregory Huber

Yale University - Department of Political Science

Dimitri Landa

New York University (NYU) - Wilf Family Department of Politics

Date Written: September 2, 2005

Abstract

We develop a model of strategic interaction between voters and potential electoral challengers to sitting incumbents, in which the very fact of a costly challenge conveys relevant information to voters. Given incumbent failure in office, challenger entry is more likely, but the threat of entry by inferior challengers creates an incentive for citizens to become more politically informed. At the same time, challenges to incumbents who perform well can neutralize a voter's positive assessment of incumbent qualifications. How a voter becomes politically informed can in turn deter challengers of different levels of competence from running, depending on the electoral environment. The model permits us to sharpen our understanding of retrospective voting, the incumbency advantage, and the relationship between electoral competition and voter welfare, while pointing to new interpretations of, and future avenues for, empirical research on elections.

Keywords: elections, accountability, endogenous challengers, voters

JEL Classification: D72, D82

Suggested Citation

Gordon, Sanford C. and Huber, Gregory and Landa, Dimitri, Challenger Entry and Voter Learning (September 2, 2005). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=887635 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.887635

Sanford C. Gordon (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - Wilf Family Department of Politics ( email )

19 West 4th Street, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10012
United States

Gregory Huber

Yale University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 208269
New Haven, DC 06520-8269
United States

Dimitri Landa

New York University (NYU) - Wilf Family Department of Politics ( email )

715 Broadway
New York, NY 10003
United States

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