Contests & Conflict | 12/16/2020 | 06:00 AM
Competency and Policy in Electoral Contests

Speaker: Philipp Denter

Philipp Denter will present his paper titled "Competency and Policy in Electoral Contests".

Abstract of the paper:
I study a model of electoral competition where two parties, that care about both the spoils of office and policy, compete for voters' support by first announcing policy platforms and by then spending costly effort in a campaign contest. Parties are characterized by their exogenous valence/competence and by the policy platforms they adopt. Voters value valence and policy via a CES utility function. I generally characterize the electoral equilibrium. When the costs of campaigning are weakly concave, both parties choose the median voter's ideal policy in the electoral equilibrium, independent of potential valence differences.

When costs are convex, a party with a sufficient valence advantage departs from the electoral center and chooses a more partisan policy platform, while the disadvantaged party remains at the center.

Surprisingly, the advantaged party's equilibrium policy choice, and hence also policy polarization, may be non-monotonic in the size of the valence advantage, if valence and policy are sufficiently complementary.

I further discuss implications of campaign finance reform as well as of politicians' average competence levels in a society for policy choices and polarization.

Chair: Lionel Page, Co-Chair: Qiang Fu and Tracy Liu

Contact Person

Event Team

Max-Planck-Institut für Steuerrecht und Öffentliche Finanzen

Marstallplatz 1
80539 München

Phone: +49-89-24246-5255
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