Polarization, Valence, and Policy Competition
- (pp. 341-52)
AbstractWe study an election between two office-seeking candidates who are polarized along a partisan issue dimension when one candidate has a valence advantage. The candidates compete by choosing policy on a second issue dimension about which voters' preferences are uncertain. Existing work predicts that the low-valence candidate "gambles for resurrection" by adopting non-centrist policies in order to differentiate from a stronger opponent. We show that this prediction is reversed in a highly polarized environment: the strong candidate chooses policies less aligned with the electorate but nonetheless wins the election with higher probability.
CitationBuisseret, Peter, and Richard Van Weelden. 2022. "Polarization, Valence, and Policy Competition." American Economic Review: Insights, 4 (3): 341-52. DOI: 10.1257/aeri.20210169
- D11 Consumer Economics: Theory
- D72 Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior