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Modeling Voter Responses to Campaign Expenditures

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Title: Modeling Voter Responses to Campaign Expenditures
Author: Edelman, Douglas
Advisor: Ball, Richard J.
Department: Haverford College. Dept. of Economics
Type: Thesis (B.A.)
Issue Date: 2010
Honors: Department of Economics Prize Winning Thesis
Abstract: This paper investigates the effect of campaign expenditures by two candidates competing for a simple majority in a popular election. It begins with an examination of past empirical and theoretical papers. These papers posit a variety of assumptions about an aggregate function that maps the candidates’ expenditures to their probability of winning the election. This paper, in contrast, derives the properties of the aggregate probability of winning function from primitive assumptions about the influence of campaign spending on the behavior of individual voters. In the model developed here, a candidate must consider not only the spending level of his opponent, but also the initial distribution of voters’ political preferences, the sensitivity of those preferences to spending, and the relationship between a voter’s strength of political preference and his probability of casting a vote. Marsden (2008) has shown that the existence of equilibrium winning strategies for each candidate, in an Electoral College election system, depends carefully on the properties of the winning function for each state. The goal of this analysis is to identify sets of assumptions about the individual-level model that generate an aggregate probability of winning function consistent with either the Snyder (1989) or Marsden (2008) functions.
Subject: Campaign funds -- United States -- Econometric models
Subject: Voting -- United States -- Econometric models
Access Restrictions: Open Access
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Edelman, Douglas. "Modeling Voter Responses to Campaign Expenditures". 2010. Available electronically from

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