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Incomplete Information and Ideological Explanations of Platform Divergence

Rebecca Morton

American Political Science Review, 1993, vol. 87, issue 2, 382-392

Abstract: One of the paradoxes of formal spatial voting models is the robustness of the theoretical result that candidates will converge toward centrists positions and the empirical observation of persistent policy divergence of candidates. A solution is that candidates are ideological (have policy preferences). When candidates have policy preferences and incomplete information about voter preferences, then platform divergence is theoretically predicted. Experimental tests of the ideological model are presented. It is shown that platform divergence is significant when candidates are ideological and have incomplete information about voter preferences. However, candidate positions are more convergent, on average, than the theory predicts, suggesting that subjects value winning independently of the expected payment.

Date: 1993
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