Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Strategic ambiguity in electoral competition

By Enriqueta Aragonés and Zvika Neeman

Abstract

Many have observed that political candidates running for election are often purposefully expressing themselves in vague and ambiguous terms. In this paper we provide a simple formal model of this phenomenon. We model the electoral competition between two candidates as a two--stage game. In the first stage of the game two candidates simultaneously choose their ideologies, and in the second stage they simultaneously choose their level of ambiguity. Our results show that ambiguity, although disliked by voters, may be sustained in equilibrium. The introduction of ambiguity as a strategic choice variable for the candidates can also serve to explain why candidates with the same electoral objectives end up ``separating'', that is, assuming different ideological positions.Ambiguous platforms, ideological differentiation

OAI identifier:

Suggested articles

Citations

  1. (1979). A representation theorem for "preference for flexibility."
  2. (1992). A spatial theory of ideology.
  3. (1980). Ambiguity in spatial models of policy formation.
  4. (1957). An Economic Theory of Democracy.
  5. (1992). Campaign spending with impressionable voters.
  6. (1983). Candidate motivation: a synthesis of alternatives.
  7. (1993). Effectiveness of electoral systems for reducing government corruption: a game theoretic analysis.
  8. (1977). Equilibrium in spatial voting: the median voter result is an artifact.
  9. (1988). Freedom of Choice.
  10. (1969). Majority rule with lotteries on alternatives.
  11. (1979). On Hotelling's stability in competition.
  12. (1984). Spatial equilibrium with entry.
  13. (1929). Stability in Competition.
  14. (1990). The politics of ambiguity.
  15. (1972). The strategy of ambiguity: uncertainty and electoral competition.

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.