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Negativity effect and the emergence of ideologies
Aragonés, Enriqueta
Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Departament d'Economia i Empresa
``Negativity effect'' refers to the psychological phenomenon that peopletend to attach greater weight to negative information than to equallyextreme and equally likely positive information in a variety of informationprocessing tasks. Numerous studies of impression formation have found thatnegative information is weighted more heavily than positive information asimpressions of others are formed. There is empirical evidence in politicalscience that shows the importance of the negativity effect in the informationprocessing of the voters. This effect can explain the observed decreaseof popularity for a president the longer he is in office. \\We construct a dynamic model of political competition, incorporating thenegativity effect in the decision rule of the voters and allowing their preferencesto change over time, according to the past performance of the candidateswhile in office. Our model may explain the emergence of ideologies out ofthe competition for votes of myopic candidates freely choosing policypositions. This result gives rise to the formation of political parties,as infinitely--lived agents with a certain ideology. Furthermore, in thismodel some voters may start out by switching among parties associated withdifferent policies, but find themselves supporting one of the parties fromsome point on. Thus, the model describes a process by which some votersbecome identified with a ``right'' or ``left'' bloc, while others ``swing''between the two parties.
2005-09-15
Labour, Public, Development and Health Economics
negativity effect
formation of ideologies
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