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Challenger Entry and Voter Learning
Sanford C. Gordon, Gregory A. Huber and Dimitri Landa
The American Political Science Review
Vol. 101, No. 2 (May, 2007), pp. 303-320
Published by: American Political Science Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27644447
Page Count: 18
You can always find the topics here!Topics: Incumbents, Voting, Political candidates, Political science, Opportunity costs, Voting behavior, Political campaigns, Ambivalence, Cost of entry, Modeling
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We develop a model of strategic interaction between voters and potential electoral challengers to sitting incumbents, in which the very fact of a costly challenge conveys relevant information to voters. Given incumbent failure in office, challenger entry is more likely, but the threat of entry by inferior challengers creates an incentive for citizens to become more politically informed. At the same time, challenges to incumbents who perform well can neutralize a voter's positive assessment of incumbent qualifications. How a voter becomes politically informed can in turn deter challengers of different levels of competence from running, depending on the electoral environment. The model permits us to sharpen our understanding of retrospective voting, the incumbency advantage, and the relationship between electoral competition and voter welfare, while pointing to new interpretations of, and future avenues for, empirical research on elections.
The American Political Science Review © 2007 American Political Science Association