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An agenda-setting model of electoral competition
Colomer, Josep M.; Llavador, Humberto
Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Departament d'Economia i Empresa
This paper presents a model of electoral competition focusing on the formation of thepublic agenda. An incumbent government and a challenger party in opposition competein elections by choosing the issues that will key out their campaigns. Giving salience toan issue implies proposing an innovative policy proposal, alternative to the status-quo.Parties trade off the issues with high salience in voters concerns and those with broadagreement on some alternative policy proposal. Each party expects a higher probabilityof victory if the issue it chooses becomes salient in the voters decision. But remarkably,the issues which are considered the most important ones by a majority of votes may notbe given salience during the electoral campaign. An incumbent government may survivein spite of its bad policy performance if there is no sufficiently broad agreement on apolicy alternative. We illustrate the analytical potential of the model with the case of theUnited States presidential election in 2004.
political competition
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