International Journal of Game Theory

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 39–69

Repeated Downsian electoral competition

Original Paper

Abstract

We analyze an infinitely repeated version of the Downsian model of elections. The folk theorem suggests that a wide range of policy paths can be supported by subgame perfect equilibria when parties and voters are sufficiently patient. We go beyond this result by imposing several suitable refinements and by giving separate weak conditions on the patience of voters and the patience of parties under which every policy path can be supported. On the other hand, we show that only majority undominated policy paths can be supported in equilibrium for arbitrarily low voter discount factors: if the core is empty, the generic case in multiple dimensions, then voter impatience leads us back to the problem of non-existence of equilibrium. We extend this result to give conditions under which core equivalence holds for a non-trivial range of voter and party discount factors, providing a game-theoretic version of the Median Voter Theorem in a model of repeated Downsian elections.

Keywords

Elections Repeated game Subgame perfect equilibrium Folk theorem Median voter theorem 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Alesina A (1988) Credibility and policy convergence in a two-party system with rational voters. Am Econ Rev 78:796–805Google Scholar
  2. Aragones E, Postlewaite A (2000) Campaign rhetoric: a model of reputation. MimeoGoogle Scholar
  3. Banks J (1995) Singularity theory and core existence in the spatial model. J Math Econ 24:523–536CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Banks J, Duggan J (2006a) A dynamic model of democratic elections in multidimensional policy spaces. MimeoGoogle Scholar
  5. Banks J, Duggan J (2006b) A social choice lemma on voting over lotteries with applications to a class of dynamic games. Soc Choice Welf (forthcoming)Google Scholar
  6. Baron D, Kalai E (1993) The simplest equilibrium of a majority rule division game. J Econ Theory 61:290–301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bernhardt D, Hughson E, Dubey S (2004) Term limits and pork barrel politics. J Publ Econ 88:2383–2422CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Black D (1958) The theory of committees and elections. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  9. Cox G (1984) Non-collegial simple games and the nowhere denseness of the set of preference profiles having a core. Soc Choice Welf 1:159–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Downs A (1957) An economic theory of democracy. Harper and Row, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  11. Duggan J (2000) Repeated elections with asymmetric information. Econ Polit 12:109–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fearon J (1999) Electoral accountability and the control of politicians: selecting good types versus sanctioning poor performance. In: Przeworski et al. (eds) Democracy, accountability, and representation. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  13. Fudenberg D, Maskin E (1986) The folk theorem in repeated games with discounting or with incomplete information. Econometrica 54:533–556CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fudenberg D, Tirole J (1991) Game Theory. MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  15. Kramer G (1977) A dynamical model of political equilibrium. J Econ Theory 16:310–334CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Le Breton M (1987) On the core of voting games. Soc Choice Welf 4:295–305CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. McKelvey R, Ordeshook P (1985) Sequential elections with limited information. Am J Polit Sci 29:480–512Google Scholar
  18. Moulin H (1986) Choosing from a tournament. Soc Choice Welf 3:271–291CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Plott C (1967) A notion of equilibrium and its possibility under majority rule. Am Econ Rev 57:787–806Google Scholar
  20. Rubinstein A (1979) A note on the nowhere denseness of societies having an equilibrium under majority rule. Econometrica 47:511–514CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Schofield N (1983) Generic instability of majority rule. Rev Econ Stud 50:695–705CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Shotts K (2006) A signaling model of repeated elections. Soc Choice Welf (forthcoming)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political Science and Department of EconomicsUniversity of RochesterRochesterUSA
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of RochesterRochesterUSA

Personalised recommendations