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Models of Electoral Competition: Three Essays on Political Economics
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economics. Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute for International Economic Studies.
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis consists of three essays in theoretical political economics.

 In "The Swing Voters' Blessing", I model elections with quality differences between two ideological candidates. The quality differences are only observable to a limited number of informed voters. I show that if uninformed voters follow an optimal strategy of only making their voting decisions dependent on their ideological position relative to the median voter, the candidate who is preferred by the median voter wins. Furthermore, I show that the existence of boundedly rational uninformed voters who always support the candidate whose policy offer is most attractive increases the welfare of the majority of voters. It forces candidates to announce positions closer to the median voter's bliss point.

"Lobbying and Elections" contributes to the literature on lobbying. Besley and Coate (2001) use their well-known citizen candidate framework and find that if citizen candidates with sufficiently extreme preferences are available, lobbying has no influence on implemented policy. I show that this result does not apply in a more realistic model with ideological parties instead of citizen candidates because the parties cannot adjust their policy positions. In a two-party system, even if forward-looking voters are aware that lobbying will take place, their choice between policies is different when lobbies do and do not exist.   

"Lexicographic Voting" reconsiders the division of the literature into models with forward-looking voters and models with backward-looking voters by developing a model that incorporates motives from both literatures. As long as there is no uncertainty about preferences and parties can commit in advance to the ideological dimension of policy, but not to a maximal level of rent extraction, voters can constrain the latter to the same extent as in a purely backward-looking model. At the same time, the policy preferred by the median voter is implemented.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Economics, Stockholm University , 2010. , 119 p.
Monograph series / Institute for International Economic Studies, University of Stockholm, ISSN 0346-6892 ; 69
Keyword [en]
Elections, Lobbying, Rents, Imperfect Information, Median Voter Theorem, Accountability, Valence
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-41416ISBN: 978-91-7447-109-0OAI: diva2:332059
Public defence
2010-09-30, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Available from: 2010-09-08 Created: 2010-07-15 Last updated: 2014-08-25Bibliographically approved

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Klingelhöfer, Jan
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Department of EconomicsInstitute for International Economic Studies

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