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Competition between specialized candidates
American Political Science Review (2010)
  • Stefan Krasa, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Mattias K Polborn
Opposing candidates for a political office often differ in their professional backgrounds and previous political experience, leading to both real and perceived differences in political capabilities. We analyze a formal model in which candidates with different productivities in two policy areas compete for voters by choosing how much money or effort they would allocate to each area if elected. The model has a unique equilibrium that differs substantially from the standard median-voter model. While candidates compete for the support of a moderate voter type, this cutoff voter differs from the expected median voter. Moreover, no voter type except the cutoff voter is indifferent between the candidates in equilibrium. The model also predicts that candidates respond to changes in the preferences of voters in a very rigid way. From a welfare perspective, candidates are ``excessively moderate'': Almost certainly, a majority of voters would prefer that the winning candidate focus more on his strength than he does in equilibrium.
  • Issue ownership,
  • differentiated candidates,
  • policy divergence
Publication Date
November, 2010
Citation Information
Stefan Krasa and Mattias K Polborn. "Competition between specialized candidates" American Political Science Review Vol. 104 Iss. 4 (2010)
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