A Caltech Library Service

The effect of candidate quality on electoral equilibrium: An experimental study

Aragones, Enriqueta and Palfrey, Thomas R. (2004) The effect of candidate quality on electoral equilibrium: An experimental study. American Political Science Review, 98 (1). pp. 77-90. ISSN 0003-0554.

PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


When two candidates of different quality compete in a one-dimensional policy space, the equilibrium outcomes are asymmetric and do not correspond to the median. There are three main effects. First, the better candidate adopts more centrist policies than the worse candidate. Second, the equilibrium is statistical, in the sense that it predicts a probability distribution of outcomes rather than a single degenerate outcome. Third, the equilibrium varies systematically with the level of uncertainty about the location of the median voter. We test these three predictions using laboratory experiments and find strong support for all three. We also observe some biases and show that they can be explained by quantal response equilibrium.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Additional Information:Copyright © 2004 by the American Political Science Association. The paper has also benefited from suggestions by three anonymous referees,the editor, and seminar audiences at Caltech, Columbia University, New York University, Princeton University, ITAM, GREQAM, the 2001 meeting of the American Political Science Association, the University of Malaga, and Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Spanish Ministry of Science and TechnologyGrant SEC2000-1186
National Science FoundationGrants SES-0079301
National Science FoundationSES-0094800
Hacker Social Science Experimental Laboratory, CaltechUNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:ARAapsr04
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:11222
Deposited By: Lindsay Cleary
Deposited On:25 Jul 2008 01:08
Last Modified:26 Dec 2012 10:10

Repository Staff Only: item control page