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Extreme Idealism and Equilibrium in the Hotelling-Downs Model of Political Competition

David Ronayne ()

CRETA Online Discussion Paper Series from Centre for Research in Economic Theory and its Applications CRETA

Abstract: In the classic Hotelling-Downs model of political competition there is (almost always) no pure strategy equilibrium with three or more strategic candidates where the distribution of voters’ preferred policies are single-peaked. I study the effect of introducing two idealist candidates who are non-strategic (i.e., fixed to their policy platform), to an unlimited number of potential strategic entrants. I present three results that hold for a non-degenerate class of cases: (i) In any equilibrium the idealists are the left-most and right-most candidates i.e., extremists; (ii) Hotelling’s Law fails: in any equilibrium, candidates do not share their policy platforms, which instead are spread across the policy space; (iii) A characterization for symmetric and asymmetric single-peaked distributions of voters’ ideal policy preferences. Equilibria where many strategic candidates enter exist only if the distribution of voter preferences is asymmetric.

Keywords: Hotelling; political competition; equilibrium existence; idealism JEL classification numbers: C72; D72 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm, nep-mic and nep-pol
Date: 2016
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