Advertising competition in presidential elections

Brett R. Gordon*, Wesley R. Hartmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Presidential candidates purchase advertising based on each state’s potential to tip the election. The structure of the Electoral College concentrates spending in battleground states, such that a majority of voters are ignored. We estimate an equilibrium model of multimarket advertising competition between candidates that allows for endogenously determined budgets. In a Direct Vote counterfactual, we find advertising would be spread more evenly across states, but total spending levels can either decrease or increase depending on the contestability of the popular vote. Spending would increase by 13 % in the extremely narrow 2000 election, but would decrease by 54 % in 2004. These results suggest that the Electoral College greatly increases advertising spending in typical elections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalQuantitative Marketing and Economics
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016

Keywords

  • Advertising
  • Contest
  • Direct vote
  • Electoral college
  • Empirical game
  • Politics
  • Presidential election
  • Resource allocation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Marketing

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