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Published March 2002 | metadata_only
Journal Article

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 fail 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 with no-gaps, 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. We find that both players' equilibrium strategies converge to the expected median voter as A's advantage shrinks to 0.

Additional Information

© 2001 Elsevier Science. Received 1 March 2000, Revised 22 February 2001, Available online 25 May 2002. Aragones acknowledges financial support by the Generalitat de Catalunya Grant 1999SGR 00157 and the Universitat Pompeu Fabra Grant COFREA99.003 and the hospitality of CBRSS at Harvard University. Palfrey acknowledges financial support from the National Science Foundation, Grants SBR-9631627 and INT-9815573. We are grateful to Tim Groseclose and an anonymous referee for detailed comments on an earlier draft, and to Andrew Postlewaite for several helpful discussions. The paper has also benefited from suggestions by participants at the Wallis Conference on Candidate Entry, Exit, and Positioning, University of Rochester, June 2000, the Games 2000 Congress in Bilbao, July 2000, and seminars at Columbia University and Universitat Pompeu Fabra.

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August 21, 2023
August 21, 2023