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Political Activism, Candidate Position and Valence, and Representation: Theory of Political Transaction

Abstract

In this paper,I argue that the essential features of political competition are collective decision making and forced consumption of political products that incur conformity costs. A concern about conformity costs motivates citizens to influence policymaking by offering electoral resources. I elaborate this idea into a single spatial model in which citizens are specified not only as voters (consumers) but also as political activists (investors). I find that position taking by a candidate with a valence advantage depends on the types of electoral resources the candidate uses to advertise his valence. If the advantaged candidate depends on exogenous (endogenous) resources, the candidate adopts a more moderate (extreme) policy than the other candidate. This paper also finds a result that has normative implications on theories of representation:the general public is more represented if citizens act as consumers whereas a majority is more represented if citizens act as investors.

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