PEPE Seminar - Maria Titova (Vanderbilt)
Title: Targeted Advertising in Elections
Some elections seem unwinnable for challengers because pivotal voters prefer policies on the opposite sides of the status quo. In this paper, I argue that the challenger can win any such election with positive probability if he uses targeted advertising with verifiable messages. In private ads, the challenger makes each voter believe that his policy is a sufficient improvement over the status quo and wins the election when his policy is sufficiently moderate. Furthermore, his odds of winning increase when voters become more extreme, because more extreme voters are more dissatisfied by the status quo and can therefore be persuaded by a wider range of policies.