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American Economic Review: Vol. 98 No. 3 (June 2008)

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How the Electoral College Influences Campaigns and Policy: The Probability of Being Florida

Article Citation

Stromberg, David. 2008. "How the Electoral College Influences Campaigns and Policy: The Probability of Being Florida." American Economic Review, 98(3): 769-807.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.98.3.769

Abstract

This paper analyzes how US presidential candidates should allocate resources across states to maximize the probability of winning the election, by developing and estimating a probabilistic-voting model of political competition under the Electoral College system. Actual campaigns act in close agreement with the model. There is a 0.9 correlation between equilibrium and actual presidential campaign visits across states, both in 2000 and 2004. The paper shows how presidential candidate attention is affected by the states' number of electoral votes, forecasted state-election outcomes, and forecast uncertainty. It also analyzes the effects of a direct national popular vote for president.

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Authors

Stromberg, David (IIES, Stockholm U)

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D72: Models of Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior


American Economic Review


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