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On the heresthetics of salience: competing over voters' inattention

24 November 2016 at 12:01 PM - 1:00 PM

Room 207, Campus on Viale Romania, 32

Speaker: Antonella Ianni, University of Southampton

On the heresthetics of salience: competing over voters' inattention.

Abstract:

We study a spatial voting model in which candidates compete for the attention of voters, who value both the policy they intend to implement and their personal attribute of valence. Candidates compete by strategically drawing voters' attention towards the most salient attribute. We characterize policy salient equilibria as well as valence salient equilibria and show that the model accounts explicitly for an attention externality, whereby strategic positioning of candidates in one dimension aects how the other is perceived. The paper shows that the median voter result is reversed and candidates strategically dierentiate their choices to make one or the other dimension salient, and as such attractive to voters. These endings have significant implications in terms of polarization of platforms and allocation of funding in an electoral campaign, where two candidates run in a winner-take-all election. Results are further validated empirically and in an experimental setup.