The Benefit of Blurring: Positional Ambiguity in Multidimensional Party Competition

08.04.2013 - 12:00
Location : 
A 5,6 Raum A 231
Type of Event : 
AB B-Kolloquium
Jan Rovny, Ph.D.
Lecturer affiliation: 
University of Gothenburg

Most studies of party competition consider the presentation of ambiguous positions a costly strategy. This literature, however, does not study party strategies in multiple issue dimensions. Multidimensionality may, however, play an important role in parties’ strategic calculus. While it may be rational for a party to emphasize its position on one issue dimension, it may be equally rational to disguise its stance on other dimensions, in order to attract a broader coalition of voters. This talk highlights the conditions under which it is rational for parties to blur their positions. Furthermore, the talk demonstrates how a theory of position blurring can contribute to specific debates on party positioning, namely the extensively analyzed question of radical right party preferences on economic issues.