A simple model explaining the interaction between special interest spending and voter choices



Abstract. This research develops a model of eligible voters rationally maximizing their stochastic utility functions in their decisions with respect to casting ballots in elections that result in voting decision being largely determined by social and psychological factors heterogeneously maleable by political expenditures. The wealthiest agents utilize their overwhelming financial resources to promote only candidates cooperating with their special interests to attract public attention, which exerts social pressure on voters to cast ballots only for those politicians who represent those agents. The model, which enables exacting computation of the benefits to politicians, special interest groups, and voters from their political actions, is shown to supply insightful explanations for the 2016 U.S. Presidential polling results for the four leading candidates. Voters were effectively swayed by large political expenditures to select from the two candidates who represented the agents providing the financial backing to market their special interests.

Keywords. Special interests, Voter utility, Elections, Political marketing.

JEL. D71, D72, F50.


Special interests; Voter utility; Elections; Political marketing.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1453/jepe.v6i3.1920


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