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Published August 8, 2017 | Submitted
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Mixed Equilibrium in a Downsian Model with a Favored Candidate


This paper examines competition in the standard one-dimensional Downsian model of two-candidate elections, but where one candidate (A) enjoys an advantage over the other candidate (D). Voters' preferences are Euclidean, but any voter will vote for candidate A over candidate D unless D is closer to her ideal point by some fixed distance δ. The location of the median voter's ideal point is uncertain, and its distribution is commonly known by both candidates. The candidates simultaneously choose locations to maximize the probability of victory. Pure strategy equilibria often fails to exist in this model, except under special conditions about δ and the distribution of the median ideal point. We solve for the essentially unique symmetric mixed equilibrium, show that candidate A adopts more moderate policies than candidate D, and obtain some comparative statics results about the probability of victory and the expected distance between the two candidates' policies.

Additional Information

Aragones acknowledges financial support by the Generalitat de Catalunya Grant number 1999SGR 00157 and the University Pompeu Fabra Grant number COFREA99.003 and the hospitality of CBRSS at Harvard University. Palfrey acknowledges financial support from the National Science Foundation, grant number SBR-9631627. We are grateful to participants at the Wallis Conference on Candidate Entry, Exit, and Positioning, University of Rochester, June 2000, for their comments. Published as Aragones, E., & Palfrey, T.R. (2002). Mixed equilibrium in a Downsian model with a favored candidate. Journal of Economic Theory, 103(1), 131-161.

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