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Signaling Character in Electoral Competition

Kartik, Navin and McAfee, R. Preston (2007) Signaling Character in Electoral Competition. American Economic Review, 97 (3). pp. 852-870. ISSN 0002-8282. doi:10.1257/aer.97.3.852.

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We study a one-dimensional Hotelling-Downs model of electoral competition with the following innovation: a fraction of candidates have “character” and are exogenously committed to a campaign platform; this is unobservable to voters. Character is desirable, and a voter's utility is a convex combination of standard policy preferences and her assessment of a candidate's character. This structure induces a signaling game between strategic candidates and voters, since a policy platform affects voters' utilities not only directly, but also indirectly through inferences about a candidate's character. The model generates a number of predictions, starting with a failure of the median voter theorem. (JEL D72, D82)

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Additional Information:Copyright © American Economic Association 2007. We thank Nageeb Ali, Ethan Bueno de Mesquita, Steve Callander, Arnaud Costinot, Vince Crawford, Dino Gerardi, Nir Jaimovich, Dilip Mookherjee, Joel Sobel, and various audiences for comments and discussions; three anonymous referees for helpful suggestions; and Jeremy Bulow for encouraging us to develop a model of primaries.
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:KARaer07
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8794
Deposited By: Archive Administrator
Deposited On:17 Sep 2007
Last Modified:08 Nov 2021 20:53

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