Endogenous Issue Salience in an Ownership Model of Elections
We analyze a model of electoral competition based on the issue-ownership theory of campaigns. In the model, parties invest resources to manipulate the salience of various issues, and the salience of an issue is the probability a voter casts her ballot according to her party preferences on that issue. Parties use campaigns to prime voters to think about different issues. Our results uncover Riker's "dominance principle" and suggest that parties will generally campaign on one issue. The two-dimensional version of the model demonstrates that parties talk past each other and indicates that competition will be most fierce when parties are similarly effective campaigners and the issues are not naturally salient. With more than two parties, there is a potential for free-riding on the campaigns of parties who are the most effective.
Thanks to Chit Basu, Rob Carroll, John Duggan, Patrick Egan, Tasos Kalandrakis, Mattan Sharkansky, Jennifer Smith, Yannis Vassiliadis, and participants at the Midwest Political Science Association's 2014 Annual Conference for valuable feedback and discussions. We are responsible for all remaining errors.
Submitted - salienceAscencioGibilisco.pdf