Parties with policy preferences and uncertainty over voter behavior

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The equilibrium redistributive policy proposals of two parties with policy preferences are studied. Each party's ideal policy coincides with that of citizens having a particular income level, and the party's utility function reflects its attitude to the trade-off between the choice of preferred policy and the likelihood of victory. When parties face uncertainty about citizens' abstention from voting, divergent equilibrium proposals are derived which are more moderate than their contrasting ideal policies. Political equilibria under different prior beliefs on abstention are then compared. It is shown that a lower likelihood of abstention in a particular income group induces both parties to make proposals catering to that group, in equilibrium.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-172
Number of pages18
JournalSocial Choice and Welfare
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Aug 1
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics

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