The Politics of Ambiguity

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The Politics of Ambiguity

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Title: The Politics of Ambiguity
Author: Cukierman, Alex; Alesina, Alberto

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Citation: Alesina, Alberto and Alex Cukierman. 1990. The Politics of Ambiguity. Quarterly Journal of Economics 105(4): 829-850.
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Abstract: Politicians face a trade-off between the policies that maximize their chances of reelection and their most preferred policies (or the policies most preferred by the constituency which they represent). This paper analyzes this trade-off in a dynamic electoral model in which the voters are not fully informed about the preferences of the incumbent. First, we show that the incumbent follows a policy which is intermediate between the other party's ideal policy and his own ideal policy. Second, we show that, often, the incumbent has an incentive to choose procedures which make it difficult for voters to pinpoint his preferences with absolute precision. Thus, politicians may prefer to be "ambiguous."
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/2937875
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Other Posted Material, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#LAA
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:4552530
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