Informative Cheap Talk in Elections
Richard Van Weelden ()
No 6328, Working Paper from Department of Economics, University of Pittsburgh
Why do office-motivated politicians sometimes espouse views that are non-congruentwith their electorateâ€™s? Can non-congruent statements convey any information about whata politician will do if elected, and if so, why would voters elect a politician who makessuch statements? Furthermore, can electoral campaigns also directly affect an elected officialâ€™sbehavior? We develop a model of credible â€œcheap talkâ€ â€”costless and non-bindingcommunicationâ€”in elections. The foundation is an endogenous voter preference for apolitician who is known to be non-congruent over one whose congruence is sufficientlyuncertain. This preference arises because uncertainty about an elected officialâ€™s policypreferences generates policymaking distortions due to reputation/career concerns. Weshow that cheap talk can alter the electorateâ€™s beliefs about a politicianâ€™s policy preferencesand thereby affect the elected officialâ€™s behavior. Informative cheap talk can increaseor decrease voter welfare, with a greater scope for welfare benefits when reputation concernsare more important.
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Journal Article: Informative Cheap Talk in Elections (2019)
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:pit:wpaper:6328
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