Econometrica: Jul 2003, Volume 71, Issue 4

Signaling and Election Motivations in a Voting Model with Common Values and Responsive Candidates

https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-0262.00440
p. 1083-1119

Ronny Razin

In this paper we focus on strategic voting behavior when both an election and a signaling motivation affect voters' behavior. We analyze a model of elections with two candidates competing on a one‐dimensional policy space. Voters are privately and imperfectly informed about a common shock affecting the electorate's preferences. Candidates are assumed to choose policy in response to information gleaned from election results and according to exogenous factors that may lead to polarization in candidates' policy choices. We analyze a subset of symmetric equilibria in which strategies are symmetric to candidates' names and private signals (CSS equilibria). We show that signaling and election motivations pull voters to vote in different directions. We provide conditions that show the relation between the amount of information aggregated in the election and the motivation that influences voting behavior the most. Finally, we show that when candidates are responsive and polarized, all CSS equilibria are inefficient in the limit.

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