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A Citizen Candidate Model with Private Information and Unique Equilibrium

Großer, Jens and Palfrey, Thomas R. (2009) A Citizen Candidate Model with Private Information and Unique Equilibrium. In: The Political Economy of Democracy. Materiales de reflexión. Fundación BBVA , Madrid, Spain, pp. 15-29. ISBN 9788496515918.

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[Introduction] We study a citizen candidate model with private information about the candidates' preferred policies (or, ideal points). By contrast, in the seminal models of Osborne and Slivinski (OS 1996) and Besley and Coate (BC 1997), and most citizen candidate models that have followed, the candidates'ideal points are assumed to be common knowledge. In the baseline model, a community is about to elect a new leader to implement a policy decision. Each citizen may enter the electoral competition as a candidate at some commonly known cost. Because each candidate's preferred policy is public information, she cannot credible promise any other than this policy in case of being elected. Anticipating this, citizens prefer the candidate whose ideal point is closest to their own ideal point, possibly themselves. OS assume a continuum of citizens (i.e., potential candidates) and sincere voting. That is, citizens vote for the most preferred candidate. BC assume a finite number of citizens and strategic voting (i.e., a Nash equilibrium in undominated strategies for the voting game). They identify a variety of different kinds of equilibria supporting different numbers of entrants, and show how the set of equilibria depends on the distribution of ideal points as well as the entry costs and benefits from holding office. For most environments, there are multiple equilibria. Both median and non-median policy outcomes can be supported in equilibrium.

Item Type:Book Section
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URLURL TypeDescription Book ItemEarlier version published as Social Science Working Paper 1292
Palfrey, Thomas R.0000-0003-0769-8109
Additional Information:Published in: The Political Economy of Democracy / Edited by Enriqueta Aragonés, Carmen Beviá, Norman Schofield y Humberto Llavador González. Madrid: Fundación BBVA, 2009. 1st ed. ISBN 9788496515918. pp. 15-29. Presented June 2008. Published July 2009. Prepared for presentation at The Workshop on The Political Economy of Democracy, Barcelona, June 5-7, 2008, sponsored by Fundación BBVA, CSIC, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, and Universitat Pompeu Fabra. We thank the audience for their comments. Palfrey also acknowledges the financial support of the National Science Foundation (SES-0617820) and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Großer acknowledges the support and hospitality of the Princeton Laboratory for Experimental Social Science (PLESS) and Economics Department, Princeton University, where this project started out.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Princeton Laboratory for Experimental Social Science (PLESS)UNSPECIFIED
Princeton University, Economics DepartmentUNSPECIFIED
Series Name:Materiales de reflexión
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20160301-142744314
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:64931
Deposited By: Susan Vite
Deposited On:08 Mar 2016 19:52
Last Modified:22 Nov 2019 09:58

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