Primaries and the New Hampshire Effect

Tilman Klumpp, Mattias K Polborn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Candidates for U.S. presidential elections are determined through sequential elections in single states, the primaries. We develop a model in which candidates can influence their winning probability in electoral districts by spending money on campaigning. The equilibrium replicates several stylized facts very well: Campaigning is very intensive in the first district. The outcome of the first election then creates an asymmetry in the candidates' incentives to campaign in the next district, which endogenously increases the equilibrium probability that the first winner wins in further districts. On the normative side, our model offers a possible explanation for the sequential organization: It leads (in expectation) to a lower level of advertising expenditures than simultaneous elections. Moreover, if one of the candidates is the more effective campaigner, sequential elections also perform better with regard to the selection of the best candidate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1073-1114
Number of pages42
JournalJournal of Public Economics
Issue number6-7
StatePublished - Aug 2006


  • Elections
  • Political campaigns
  • Primaries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Finance


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