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Attack Politics: Who Goes Negative and Why?

Mattes, Kyle (2006) Attack Politics: Who Goes Negative and Why? Social Science Working Paper, 1256. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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I introduce a formal model of campaign strategy to show when candidates will engage in negative campaigning and how it can affect election results. The model separates campaign strategies by target (self or opponent) and dimension (issue or character), and defines negative campaigning as attacking one’s opponent on the character dimension. Whether candidates choose negative campaigning depends upon three factors: the preconceptions of the voter, the voter’s preferred dimension, and the candidate types. I show that eliminating negative campaigning has an ambiguous effect on voter welfare. In some cases, eliminating the negative option can hurt superior candidates.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Subject Keywords:campaigns, elections, negative campaigning, valence politics
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:1256
Classification Code:JEL: D72, C72
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170801-102048204
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:79673
Deposited By: Hanna Storlie
Deposited On:01 Aug 2017 20:19
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 18:22

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