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Sequential Elections with Limited Information

Richard D. McKelvey and Peter C. Ordeshook
American Journal of Political Science
Vol. 29, No. 3 (Aug., 1985), pp. 480-512
DOI: 10.2307/2111140
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2111140
Page Count: 33
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Sequential Elections with Limited Information
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Abstract

The authors develop theoretically and test experimentally a model of elections with incomplete information. The model is based on a sequence of elections in which voters have no contemporaneous information about the candidate positions, and candidates have no information about voter preferences. The only source of information is historical data on the policy positions of previous winning candidates and contemporaneous endorsement data. The authors define a notion of "stationary rational expectations equilibrium," in which all participants optimize subject to beliefs and beliefs are consistent with observed data, and show that such equilibria result in outcomes which are equivalent to those that would occur under full information. The experimental data give some support for the model.

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