Electoral Competition Between Between Two Candidates of Different Quality: The Effects of Candidate Ideology and Private Information


This paper examines competition in a spatial model of two-candidate elections, where one candidate enjoys a quality advantage over the other candidate. The candidates care about winning and also have policy preferences. There is two-dimensional private information. Candidate ideal points as well as their tradeoffs between policy preferences and winning are private information. The distribution of this two-dimensional type is common knowledge. The location of the median voter's ideal point is uncertain, with a distribution that is commonly known by both candidates. Pure strategy equilibria always exist in this model. We characterize the effects of increased uncertainty about the median voter, the effect of candidate policy preferences, and the effects of changes in the distribution of private information. We prove that the distribution of candidate policies approaches the mixed equilibrium of Aragones and Palfrey (2002a), when both candidates' weights on policy preferences go to zero.