Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Competition between Specialized Candidates

  • STEFAN KRASA (a1) and MATTIAS POLBORN (a1)
Abstract

Opposing candidates for a political office often differ in their professional backgrounds and previous political experience, leading to both real and perceived differences in political capabilities. We analyze a formal model in which candidates with different productivities in two policy areas compete for voters by choosing how much money or effort they would allocate to each area if elected. The model has a unique equilibrium that differs substantially from the standard median voter model. Although candidates compete for the support of a moderate voter type, this cutoff voter differs from the expected median voter. Moreover, no voter type except the cutoff voter is indifferent between the candidates in equilibrium. The model also predicts that candidates respond to changes in the preferences of voters in a very rigid way. From a welfare perspective, candidates are “excessively moderate”: almost certainly, a majority of voters would prefer that the winning candidate focus more on his or her strength.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Stefan Krasa is Professor, Department of Economics, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, 1407 W. Gregory Drive, Urbana, IL 61801 (skrasa@uiuc.edu).
Mattias Polborn is Associate Professor, Department of Economics and Department of Political Science, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, 1407 W. Gregory Drive, Urbana, IL 61801 (polborn@uiuc.edu).
References
Hide All
Adams, J., and Merrill, S.. 2003. “Voter Turnout and Candidate Strategies in American Elections.” Journal of Politics 65: 161–89.
Ansolabehere, S., and Snyder, J.M.. 2000. “Valence Politics and Equilibrium in Spatial Election Models.” Public Choice 103: 327–36.
Aragones, E., and Palfrey, T.R.. 2002. “Mixed Equilibrium in a Downsian Model with a Favored Candidate.” Journal of Economic Theory 103 (1): 131–61.
Bernhardt, D., Duggan, J., and Squintani, F.. 2009. “The Case for Responsible Parties.” American Political Science Review 103: 570–87.
Besley, T., and Coate, S.. 1997. “An Economic Model of Representative Democracy.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 112: 85114.
Budge, I. 1993. “Issues, Dimensions, and Agenda Change in Postwar Democracies: Long-term Trends in Party Election Programs and Newspaper Reports in Twenty-three Democracies.” In Agenda Formation, ed. Riker, W.H.. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 4180.
Budge, I., and Farlie, D.J.. 1983. Explaining and Predicting Elections. London: Allen and Unwin.
Callander, S. 2005. “Electoral Competition in Heterogeneous Districts.” Journal of Political Economy 113: 1116–45.
Calvert, R.L. 1985. “Robustness of the Multidimensional Voting Model: Candidate Motivations, Uncertainty, and Convergence.” American Journal of Political Science 29: 6995.
Coughlin, P. 1992. Probabilistic Voting Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Damore, D. 2004. “The Dynamics of Issue Ownership in Presidential Campaigns.” Political Research Quarterly 57 (3): 391.
Dixit, A., and Londregan, J.. 1996. “The Determinants of Success of Special Interests in Redistributive Politics.” Journal of Politics 58 (4): 1132–55.
Downs, A. 1957. An Economic Theory of Democracy. New York: Harper.
Egan, P.J. 2008. “Issue Ownership and Representation: A Theory of Legislative Responsiveness to Constituency Opinion.” New York University. Unpublished manuscript.
Gans, J., and Smart, M.. 1996. “Majority Voting with Single-crossing Preferences.” Journal of Public Economics 59 (2): 219–37.
Gautier, P., and Soubeyran, R.. 2008. “Political Cycles: Issue Ownership and the Opposition Advantage.” Journal of Public Economic Theory 10 (4): 685716.
Grofman, B. 2004. “Downs and Two-party Convergence.” Annual Review of Political Science 7: 2546.
Groseclose, T. 2001. “A Model of Candidate Location When One Candidate Has a Valence Advantage.” American Journal of Political Science 45 (4): 862–86.
Hammond, T., and Humes, B.. 1993. “‘What This Campaign Is All about Is. . .’: A Rational Choice Alternative to the Downsian Spatial Model of Elections.” In Information, Participation, and Choice: An Economic Theory of Democracy in Perspective, ed. Grofman, B.. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 141–59.
Krasa, S., and Polborn, M.K.. 2006. “Majority-effciency and competition-effciency in a Binary Policy Model.” Institute of Governmental Studies, UC Berkeley. http://escholarship.orgucitem8jd9n1dw (accessed October 17, 2010).
Krasa, S., and Polborn, M.K.. 2009a. “Political Competition between Differentiated Candidates.” University of Illinois. Unpublished manuscript.
Krasa, S., and Polborn, M.K.. 2009b. “A Political-economy Model of Taxation and Government Expenditures with Differentiated Candidates.” University of Illinois. Unpublished manuscript.
Krasa, S., and Polborn, M.K.. 2010. “The Binary Policy Model.” Journal of Economic Theory 145: 661–88.
Lindbeck, A., and Weibull, J.. 1987. “Balanced-budget Redistribution as the Outcome of Political Competition.” Public Choice 52: 273–97.
Lindbeck, A., and Weibull, J.. 1993. “A Model of Political Equilibrium in a Representative Democracy.” Journal of Public Economics 51: 195209.
Martinelli, C. 2001. “Elections with Privately Informed Parties and Voters.” Public Choice 108 (1): 147–67.
Messner, M., and Polborn, M.K.. 2004. “Voting on Majority Rules.” Review of Economic Studies 71 (1): 115–32.
Mirrlees, J. 1971. “An Exploration in the Theory of Optimal Income Taxation.” Review of Economic Studies 38: 175208.
Osborne, M. 1995. “Spatial Models of Political Competition under Plurality Rule: A Survey of Some Explanations of the Number of Candidates and the Positions They Take.” Canadian Journal of Economics 27: 261301.
Osborne, M., and Slivinski, A.. 1996. “A Model of Political Competition with Citizen Candidates.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 111: 6596.
Palfrey, T.R. 1984. “Spatial Equilibrium with Entry.” Review of Economic Studies 51: 139–56.
Petrocik, J.R. 1996. “Issue Ownership in Presidential Elections, with a 1980 Case Study.” American Journal of Political Science 40 (3): 825–50.
Riker, W.H. 1993. “Rhetorical Interaction in the Ratification Campaigns.” In Agenda Formation, ed. Riker, W.H.. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 81123.
Riker, W.H. 1996. The Strategy of Rhetoric. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Roemer, J.E. 1994. “A Theory of Policy Differentiation in Single Issue Electoral Politics.” Social Choice and Welfare 11 (4): 355–80.
Roemer, J.E. 2001. Political Competition: Theory and Applications. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Simon, A.F. 2002. The Winning Message: Candidate Behavior, Campaign Discourse, and Democracy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Soubeyran, R. N.d. “Does a Disadvantaged Candidate Choose an Extremist Position?” Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, Forthcoming.
Spence, M. 1974. “Competitive and Optimal Responses to Signals: An Analysis of Effciency and Distribution.” Journal of Economic Theory 7: 296332.
Stokes, D. 1963. “Spatial Models of Party Competition.” American Political Science Review 57 (2): 368–77.
Suellentrop, C. 2004. “The Vanishing Nonvoter: Has Karl Rove Brought Too Many New People to Politics?” Slate, October 31. www.slate.comid2108924/ (accessed October 17, 2010).
Wittman, D. 1983. “Candidate Motivation: A Synthesis of Alternative Theories.” American Political Science Review 77: 142–57.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

American Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 0003-0554
  • EISSN: 1537-5943
  • URL: /core/journals/american-political-science-review
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed