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Candidate entry and political polarization: An experimental study

Großer, Jens and Palfrey, Thomas R. (2016) Candidate entry and political polarization: An experimental study. Social Science Working Paper, 1427. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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We report the results of a laboratory experiment based on a citizen‐candidate model with private information about ideal points. Inefficient political polarization is observed in all treatments; that is, citizens with extreme ideal points enter as candidates more often than moderate citizens. Second, less entry occurs, with even greater polarization, when voters have directional information about candidates’ ideal points, using ideological party labels. Nonetheless, this directional information is welfare enhancing because the inefficiency from greater polarization is outweighed by lower total entry costs and better voter information. Third, entry rates are decreasing in group size and the entry cost. These findings are all implied by properties of the unique symmetric Bayesian equilibrium of the entry game. Quantitatively, we observe too little (too much) entry when the theoretical entry rates are high (low). This general pattern of observed biases in entry rates is implied by logit quantal response equilibrium.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
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URLURL TypeDescription ItemJournal Article
Palfrey, Thomas R.0000-0003-0769-8109
Additional Information:We would like to thank participants at the Public Policy and Social & Economic Behavior conference, University of Cologne, the 1st Southwest Experimental and Behavioral Economics (SWEBE) conference, UC Irvine, and the North‐American ESA meeting in Tucson, and at seminars at Caltech and the Hertie School of Governance, Berlin for their helpful comments. We are also grateful for financial support from the CEC‐COFRS Award, Florida State University. Palfrey acknowledges support from NSF (SES‐1426560), the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (SES‐1158), and a Russell Sage Foundation Visiting Scholar Fellowship (2014‐15).
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Florida State UniversityUNSPECIFIED
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationSES‐1158
Russell Sage FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:1427
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170707-100521521
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:78844
Deposited By: Hanna Storlie
Deposited On:13 Jul 2017 17:06
Last Modified:22 Nov 2019 09:58

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