The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics
Editor-in-Chief: Schipper, Burkhard
Ed. by Fong, Yuk-fai / Peeters, Ronald / Puzzello , Daniela / Rivas, Javier / Wenzelburger, Jan
2 Issues per year
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Bad Government Can Be Good Politics: Political Reputation, Negative Campaigning, and Strategic Shirking
We develop a model of a contest between two political candidates who may care about their reputations separately from how they affect the election outcome. In the game's first stage, each candidate chooses to maintain his maximum reputation or to shirk to lower it. In the second stage, candidates undertake positive or negative campaigns. We allow the magnitudes of reputational effects of positive and negative campaigns, and the relative importance candidates place on reputation and winning, to vary. Under many parameter values, candidates shirk in order to either decrease negative campaigning in the second stage or to increase their probability of winning the election. This result persists even when some of the main assumptions of the model are relaxed.
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