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Published April 1990 | metadata_only
Journal Article

A Model of Electoral Competition with Incomplete Information


A model of two-candidate electoral competition is developed in which voters are uncertain about the policy either candidate would implement if elected. Candidates simultaneously announce policy positions, from which voters attempt to infer the true positions the candidates would adopt. Announcing a position different from the true position is costly to the winning candidate, with these costs increasing as the difference between the true policy and the announced policy increases. A refinement of the sequential equilibrium concept is used to describe the behavior of candidates and voters.

Additional Information

© 1990 Academic Press. Received November 20, 1987; revised March 15, 1989. I thank David Austen-Smith. Joseph Harrington, Jr., Barry Weingast, and seminar participants at Caltech, the University of Michigan, and the Hoover Institution for helpful comments and suggestions. Financial support of the National Science Foundation through Grant SES-8700468 is gratefully acknowledged.

Additional details

August 19, 2023
August 19, 2023