On the positive role of negative political campaigning

Maarten Janssen, Mariya Teteryatnikova

This paper studies the incentives of parties in political campaigns to disclose their true, intended policies to voters in a setting where these policies are exogenously given and where they are chosen strategically. Parties compete for the vote share that determines their political power or percentage of seats won in the election. We consider two cases: one in which parties can only disclose their own policy (no negative political campaigning) and the other, in which they can also disclose the policy of their adversary (negative political campaigning). In both cases and irrespective of whether policies are exogenous or strategic, full revelation is one of the equilibrium outcomes. More importantly, in case of negative campaigning, all equilibrium outcomes, with full and partial disclosure, are such that all voters make choices that they would have also made under full disclosure. If parties do not or are not allowed to engage in negative campaigning, a large variety of nondisclosure equilibria exist where voters' choices are different from those under full disclosure.

Department of Economics
No. of pages
Publication date
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
502047 Economic theory
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