A Spatial Theory of Positive and Negative Campaigning

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Economics (CMC)

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In order to explore the content of electoral campaigns, this paper makes two modifications to Hotelling's model of spatial competition. First, we assume that agents inherit initial locations and engage in costly relocation. Second, an agent's relocation is affected by her rival's actions. We investigate how a candidate allocates resources between positive campaigning—which influences voters' perceptions of her own ideology—and negative campaigning—which influences her opponent's perceived ideology. Our theory predicts that the candidate who is perceived as having less attractive personal attributes runs a relatively more negative campaign. The theory's implications are illustrated for the 1988 presidential election.Journal of Economic LiteratureClassification Numbers: C7, H0.

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© 1996 Academic Press

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