The Seeds of Negativity: Knowledge and Money

Mitchell Lovett, University of Rochester, USA
Ron Shachar, Duke University, USA
This paper studies the decision to "go negative" in ads. For this purpose we focus on political campaigns and an intriguing empirical regularity (close races are more negative). We present a model in which ads inform voters on the good traits of the candidate or the bad traits of his opponent. In equilibrium the proportion of negative ads increases with voters' knowledge and candidate budget. We test these implications using data on recent US congressional and presidential races. The data supports the model and the model helps to explain the relationship between the closeness of the race and its negativity.
[ to cite ]:
Mitchell Lovett and Ron Shachar (2010) ,"The Seeds of Negativity: Knowledge and Money", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 242-245 .