A Signaling Explanation for Political Parties and Advertisements

  • Masaoki Tamura
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Economics book series (BRIEFSECONOMICS)


Many politicians, in an election, join political parties and create political advertisements. Political advertisements take many forms including TV commercial, Web sites, and posters, which are often criticized for wasting money. This study sheds lights on their positive aspect: they function as signals to voters under asymmetric information. In the election, candidates’ policy preferences (e.g., preferences for income redistribution) are uncertain for voters. Candidates use political parties and advertisements to signal their hidden preference to the voters. Investigating a multi-period version of Snyder and Ting (2002) with the possibility of reelection, I show that political parties are not sufficient signals to reveal politicians’ types. Political advertisements work as a complementary signal to political parties. With political parties and advertisements, voters can elect their favorable candidates adequately. Even if the advertisements are a waste of money, they contribute to voting for favored candidates.


Political party Political advertisements Signaling 


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  2. Snyder, J. M, Jr., & Ting, M. M. (2002). An informational rationale for political parties. American Journal of Political Science, 46(1), 90–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Tamura, M. (2018) A Signaling Explanation for Political Parties and Advertisements. Theoretical Economics Letters, 8(3), 241–255.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Development Bank of Japan 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nagoya University of Commerce and BusinessNisshinJapan
  2. 2.Research Institute of Capital FormationDevelopment Bank of JapanTokyoJapan

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