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American Economic Journal: Microeconomics: Vol. 4 No. 2 (May 2012)

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Ideologues Beat Idealists

Article Citation

Ghosh, Sambuddha, and Vinayak Tripathi. 2012. "Ideologues Beat Idealists." American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, 4(2): 27-49.

DOI: 10.1257/mic.4.2.27

Abstract

Our model considers a majority election between two candidates—an ideologue committed to a fixed policy and an idealist who implements the ex post choice of the majority. Voters are aware that their individual rankings of policies may change after the election according to common or idiosyncratic shocks. We show that in equilibrium the ideologue often beats the idealist, even when this choice hurts all voters. Inefficiency arises both for sincere and for strategic voters; we also show that it is more pervasive in the latter case. Groups may be inflexible even when each individual has a preference for flexibility. (JEL C72, D72)

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Authors

Ghosh, Sambuddha (Boston U)
Tripathi, Vinayak (New Rochelle, NY)

JEL Classifications

C72: Noncooperative Games
D72: Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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