# Electoral competition under costly policy implementation

- 105 Downloads

## Abstract

This paper analyzes a unidimensional electoral competition model between two policy-motivated candidates, assuming that the elected candidate has to incur an idiosyncratic policy implementation cost. Think of this as the election of chairman in an academic department, a parent-teacher association, or a condominium association board, where the election winner perceives office holding as a cost, and not benefit. We prove that in such a game, a pure strategy Nash equilibrium is guaranteed to exist even when the policy implementation costs are heterogeneous, as long as they are not very large. We also provide the equilibrium characterization, comparative statics, and welfare analysis in the case of Euclidean preferences. In particular, we show that equilibrium strategies are divergent and in general not symmetric around the expected bliss point of the median voter. A higher policy implementation cost makes a candidate propose a more extreme policy, and lowers his electoral chances. Naturally, the voter’s welfare decreases when the candidates’ implementation costs increase.

## References

- Andreoni J (1988) Privately provided public goods in a large economy: the limits of altruism. J Pub Econ 35:57–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Ball R (1999) Discontinuity and nonexistence of equilibrium in the probabilistic spatial voting model. Soc Choice Welfare 16:533–555CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Bergstrom TC, Blume LE, Varian HR (1986) On the private provision of public goods. J Publ Econ 29:25–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Bernhardt D, Duggan J, Squintani F (2009) The case for responsible parties. Am Polit Sci Rev 103:570–587CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Bilodeau M, Slivinski A (1996) Toilet cleaning and department chairing: volunteering a public service. J Publ Econ 59:299–308CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Bliss C, Nalebuff B (1984) Dragon-slaying and ballroom dancing: the private supply of a public good. J Publ Econ 25:1–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Calvert RL (1985) Robustness of the multidimensional voting model: candidate motivations, uncertainty, and convergence. Am J Polit Sci 29:69–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Cornes R, Sandler T (1996) The theory of externalities, public goods and club goods. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Dasgupta P, Maskin E (1986) The existence of equilibrium in discontinuous economic games, I: theory. Rev Econ Stud 53:1–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Debreu G (1952) A social equilibrium existence theorem. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 38:886–893Google Scholar
- Downs A (1957) An economic theory of democracy. Harper and Row, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Drouvelis M, Saporiti A, Vriend NJ (2014) Political motivations and electoral competition: equilibrium analysis and experimental evidence. Games Econ Behav 83:86–115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Duggan J, Fey M (2005) Electoral competition with policy-motivated candidates. Games Econ Behav 51:490–522CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Hinich M (1977) Equilibrium in spatial voting: the median voter result is an artifact. J Econ Theory 16:208–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Hirsch AV, Shotts KW (2015) Competitive policy development. Am Econ Rev 105:1646–1664CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Hotelling H (1929) Stability in competition. Econ J 39:41–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Kamada Y, Kojima F (2014) Voter preferences, polarization, and electoral policies. Am Econ J Microecon 6:203–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Martimort D, Semenov A (2008) Ideological uncertainty and lobbying competition. J Publ Econ 92:456–481CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Messner M, Polborn MK (2004) Paying politicians. J Publ Econ 88:2423–2445CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Reny PJ (1999) On the existence of pure and mixed strategy nash equilibria in discontinuous games. Econometrica 67:1029–1056CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Roemer JE (1994) A theory of policy differentiation in single issue electoral politics. Soc Choice Welfare 11:355–380CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Roemer JE (1997) Political-economic equilibrium when parties represent constituents. Soc Choice Welfare 14:479–502CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Roemer JE (2001) Political competition. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
- Saporiti A (2008) Existence and uniqueness of nash equilibrium in electoral competition games: the hybrid case. J Publ Econ Theory 10(5):827–857CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Wittman D (1977) Candidates with policy preferences: a dynamic model. J Econ Theory 14:180–189CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Wittman D (1983) Candidate motivation: a synthesis of alternative theories. Am Polit Sci Rev 77:142–157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Wittman D (1990) Spatial strategies when candidates have policy preferences. In: Enelow J, Hinich M (eds) Advances in the spatial theory of voting. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar