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Polarization and Campaign Spending in Elections

Hirsch, Alexander V. (2019) Polarization and Campaign Spending in Elections. Social Science Working Paper, 1452. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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We develop a Downsian model of electoral competition in which candidates with both policy and office-motivations use a mixture of platforms and campaign spending to gain the median voter’s support. The unique equilibrium involves randomizing over both platforms and spending, and exhibits the following properties – (i) ex-ante uncertainty in platforms, spending, and the election winner, (ii) platform divergence, (iii) inefficiency in spending and outcomes, (iv) polarization, and (v) voter extremism. We also show that platform polarization and campaign spending move in tandem, since spending is used by candidates to gain support for extreme platforms. Factors that contribute to both phenomena include the candidates’ desire for extreme platforms, and their ability to translate campaign spending into support for them. The latter insight generates new hypotheses about the potential causes of both rising polarization and spending.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
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URLURL TypeDescription ItemJournal Article
Additional Information:For helpful comments I thank Ken Shotts, Adam Meirowitz, and Salvatore Nunnari.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:1452
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190502-161551269
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:95195
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:03 May 2019 14:41
Last Modified:29 Nov 2022 00:16

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