Public Choice

, Volume 103, Issue 3, pp 327-336

First online:

Valence Politics and Equilibrium in Spatial Election Models

  • Stephen AnsolabehereAffiliated withDepartment of Political Science, MIT
  • , James M. SnyderJr.Affiliated withDepartment of Political Science, MIT

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Spatial models of two-party or two-candidatecompetition almost never have pure-strategy Nashequilibria when the issue space has more than onedimension. This paper shows that the introduction ofvalence issues can create conditions where equilibriaexist, even in a multidimensional setting. We derivesufficient conditions for the existence of equilibria,and characterize the spatial locations of twocompeting parties or candidates when such equilibriaexist. The party with the advantage on the valencedimension will generally take a moderate position onthe positional issues. We consider the implications ofthese results for public perceptions of the parties,incumbency advantages, and realigning elections.