In this paper we consider the nature of local Nash equilibrium (LNE) for a model
of the 2007 Duma election in Russia, using estimates of valence obtained from sociodemographic
We then extend this sociodemographic valence model by including institutional valences,
the approval by voters of the various institutions, including the President, the PrimeMinister,
the State Duma and the Federation Council.We show by simulation that the vote maximizing
LNE of this general stochastic model were not at the electoral origin. The dominant feature
of the election was the influence of approval or disapproval of President Putin on each voter’s
The purpose of political campaigns in democracies is to provide voters with information that allows them to make “correct” choices, that is, vote for the party/candidate whose proposed policy or “position” is closest to their ideal position. In a world where political talk is often ambiguous and imprecise, it then becomes important to understand whether correct choices can still be made. In this paper we identify two elements of political culture that are key to answering this question: (i) whether or not political statements satisfy a so-called “grain of truth” assumption, and (ii) whether or not politicians make statements that are comparative, that is contain information about politicians’ own positions relative to that of their adversaries. The “grain of truth” assumption means that statements, even if vague, do not completely misrepresent the true positions of the parties. We find that only when political campaigning is comparative and has a grain of truth, will voters always make choices as if they were fully informed. Therefore, the imprecision of political statements should not be a problem as long as comparative campaigning is in place.
We provide a theory and empirical evidence indicating that the rotation of ruling elites in conjunction with elites' asset ownership could improve property rights protectiion in non-democraices. The mechanism that upholds property rights is based on elites' concern about the security of their own asset ownership in the event they lose power. Such incentives provide a solution to the credible comitment problem in maintaining secure property rights when institutional restrictions on expropriation are weak or absent.