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Political Science and Political Economy Research Seminar & Political Science and Political Economy Research Seminar

Political Competence and Electoral Competition

Zuheir Desai (IE University), joint with Scott A Tyson

Tuesday 19 October 2021 14:00 - 15:30

Many of our seminars and public events this year will continue as in person or as hybrid (online and in person) events. Please check our website listings and Twitter feed @STICERD_LSE for updates.

Unless otherwise specified, in-person seminars are open to the public.

Those unable to join the seminars in-person are welcome to participate via zoom if the event is hybrid.


About this event

How does politician competence, conceptualized as the ability to effectively implement policies, affect campaign platforms and electoral competition? We develop a framework where politicians differ in terms of ideological preferences and in their ability to implement both ideological and nonpartisan policies. Our analysis identifies an important distinction between platforms and policies and generates novel empirical implications regarding the effect of competence on platforms. First, we identify conditions under which an incompetent candidate is more extreme than her competent counterpart. Second, we show that the effect of increasing the competence gap on platform polarization is contingent on the source of the increase. Finally, we find that an exogenous increase in the salience of competence can lead to extremism and polarization. Competence also introduces a role for extreme political legacies that lead to “populist” platforms where both leftist and rightist platforms are more extreme in the same direction than the voter.

The Political Science and Political Economy (PSPE) research group at the LSE brings together faculty and PhD students who do quantitative and/or formal research on political institutions, political behaviour, public policy, and political economy.

The PSPE Research Seminar provides a venue for researchers (mostly from outside of the LSE) to present their work.

These seminars are held on Tuesdays in term time at 14.00-15.30, both ONLINE AND IN PERSON in room SAL 3.05, unless specified otherwise.

Seminar coordinator: Mathilde Emeriau

Contact gov.comms@lse.ac.uk to be added to the mailing list and to recieve the zoom link.

For further information please contact Maddie Giles: gov.comms@lse.ac.uk.

The Political Science and Political Economy (PSPE) research group at the LSE brings together faculty and PhD students who do quantitative and/or formal research on political institutions, political behaviour, public policy, and political economy.

The PSPE Research Seminar provides a venue for researchers (mostly from outside of the LSE) to present their work.

These seminars are held on Tuesdays in term time at 14.00-15.30, both ONLINE AND IN PERSON in room SAL 3.05, unless specified otherwise.

Seminar coordinator: Mathilde Emeriau

Contact gov.comms@lse.ac.uk to be added to the mailing list and to recieve the zoom link.

For further information please contact Maddie Giles: gov.comms@lse.ac.uk.