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Information and Strategic Political Polarization

34 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2007  

Juan D. Carrillo

University of Southern California - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Micael Castanheira

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Abstract

We develop a model of electoral competition in which two purely opportunistic candidates select their policy position and invest in the quality of their platform. Policy positions are observed and, during the electoral campaign, the press reveals some information about quality. We demonstrate that when information is imperfect and quality endogenous, the Black-Downs median voter theorem fails to hold. For intermediate levels of information revelation, the unique equilibrium is one in which candidates propose policies that differ from the median voter's bliss point. By contrast, convergence to the median voter still occurs when information is (almost) always or (almost) never revealed. Our results also show that a profit-maximizing press may collect more information than optimal from a social viewpoint.

Keywords: Elections, Information, Moral Hazard

JEL Classification: D72

Suggested Citation

Carrillo, Juan D. and Castanheira, Micael, Information and Strategic Political Polarization. Economic Journal, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=973818

Juan D. Carrillo (Contact Author)

University of Southern California - Department of Economics ( email )

3022 S. Vermont Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States
213-740-3526 (Phone)
213-740-8543 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

Micael Castanheira

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES) ( email )

Ave. Franklin D Roosevelt, 50 - C.P. 114
Brussels, B-1050
Belgium
+32 2 650 4467 (Phone)
+32 2 650 3369 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

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