Does Electoral Competition Create Incentives for Political Parties to Collect Information About the Pros and Cons of Alternative Policies?

Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper No. TI 04-133/1

16 Pages Posted: 23 Dec 2004

See all articles by Silvia Dominguez-Martinez

Silvia Dominguez-Martinez

University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam School of Economics (ASE)

Otto H. Swank

Erasmus University Rotterdam - Department of Economics; Tinbergen Institute Rotterdam (TIR)

Date Written: December 2004

Abstract

A well-known rationale for representative democracy is that direct democracy leads to a free-rider problem as to the collection of information. A problem with this rationale is that it takes for granted that representatives collect information. In this paper we examine whether or not electoral competition induces political parties or candidates to collect information about policy consequences. We show that the answer to this question depends on the cost of information collection. More surprisingly, we find that endogenizing information may lead to divergence of policy platforms.

Keywords: Information collection, spatial voting models

JEL Classification: D72, E83

Suggested Citation

Dominguez-Martinez, Silvia and Swank, Otto H., Does Electoral Competition Create Incentives for Political Parties to Collect Information About the Pros and Cons of Alternative Policies? (December 2004). Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper No. TI 04-133/1, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=634604 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.634604

Silvia Dominguez-Martinez (Contact Author)

University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam School of Economics (ASE) ( email )

Roetersstraat 11
Amsterdam, North Holland 1018 WB
Netherlands

Otto H. Swank

Erasmus University Rotterdam - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

Tinbergen Institute Rotterdam (TIR)

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands
+31 10 4081448 (Phone)
+31 10 2120551 (Fax)

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