Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

2016

Department

Economics

Abstract

Given the depth of research on negative advertising in campaigns, scholars have wondered why candidates continue to attack their opponents. We build on this research by considering real-world campaign contexts in which candidates are working in competition with each other and have to react to the decisions of the opposing campaign. Our results suggest that it is never efficacious for candidates to run attack ads, but running positive ads can increase a candidate’s margin of victory. These results are conditioned by two factors: candidates must both stay positive and out-advertise their opponent. Second, the effects of positive advertising are strongest in areas where the candidate is losing or winning by a large margin—areas where they might be tempted to not advertise at all.

Publisher Statement

Liam C. Malloy is in the Department of Economics.

Shanna Pearson-Merkowitz is in the Department of Political Science.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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