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The Effect of Candidate Quality on Electoral Equilibrium: An Experimental Study

Aragones, Enriqueta and Palfrey, Thomas R. (2002) The Effect of Candidate Quality on Electoral Equilibrium: An Experimental Study. Social Science Working Paper, 1138. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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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:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
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Palfrey, Thomas R.0000-0003-0769-8109
Additional Information:Aragones acknowledges financial support from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Technology, grant number SEC2000-1186. Palfrey acknowledges financial support from the National Science Foundation, grant number SES-0079301, and from the Hacker Social Science Experimental Laboratory at Caltech. The paper has also benefitted from suggestions by audiences at Caltech, Columbia University, Princeton University, ITAM, GREQAM, the 2001 meeting of the American Political Science Association, University of Malaga, and Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Published as 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.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Subject Keywords:candidate quality; experiments; spatial competition; quantal response equilibrium
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:1138
Classification Code:JEL: C72, C92, D72
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170802-160404405
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:79792
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:02 Aug 2017 23:48
Last Modified:22 Nov 2019 09:58

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