Partisan politics and election failure with ignorant voters

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20 Scopus citations


We analyze candidate competition when some voters do not observe a candidate's policy choice. Voters have a personality preference when both candidates offer the same policy. In equilibrium, the candidate with a personality advantage may get elected with a partisan policy even though his opponent's policy is preferred by all voters. The departure from the Downsian prediction is most pronounced when candidates have a weak policy preference and care mostly about winning the election. In that case, uninformed voters choose the candidate with the preferred personality even if electing this candidate implies a lower payoff on average.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)146-174
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Economic Theory
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics and Econometrics


  • Electoral competition
  • Information aggregation
  • Voter ignorance


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