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A Dynamic Model of Democratic Elections in Multidimensional Policy Spaces

John Duggan and Jeffrey Banks

No WP53, Wallis Working Papers from University of Rochester - Wallis Institute of Political Economy

Abstract: We propose a general model of repeated elections. In each period, a challenger is chosen from the electorate to run against an incumbent politician in a majority-rule election, and the winner then selects a policy from a multidimensional policy space. Individual policy preferences are private information, whereas policy choices are publicly observable. We prove existence and continuity of equilibria in “simple” voting and policy strategies; we provide examples to show the variety of possible equilibrium patterns in multiple dimensions; we analyze the effects of patience and office-holding benefits on the persistence of policies over time; and we identify relationships between equilibrium policies and the core of the underlying voting game. As a byproduct of our analysis, we show how equilibrium incentives may lead elected representatives to make policy compromises, even when binding commitments are unavailable. We provide an informational story for incumbency advantage. Finally, we give an asymptotic version of the median voter theorem for the one-dimensional model as voters becomes arbitrarily patient.

Pages: 46 pages
Date: 2008-03
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm, nep-dcm and nep-pol
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (34)

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