I am an applied economic theorist specializing in information economics.
Research interests: information design, costly information acquisition, dynamic incentive problems.
Jan Zápal (CERGE-EI, Chair),
Ole Jann (CERGE-EI),
Inés Moreno de Barreda (Oxford),
Filip Matějka (CERGE-EI)
Microtargeting allows politicians to design policies that target narrow groups of citizens by using fine-grained voter data. How does this practice affect the welfare of voters? The paper provides a model where the incumbent and the challenger compete for office by offering targeted benefits to voters. Voters differ in their affinities to the politicians and the value they derive from targeted benefits. We compare social welfare when politicians can make offers to voters with specific characteristics to a scenario where they choose the mass of benefits they are ready to provide, and then voters receive them uniformly at random. In the first scenario, which models microtargeting, politicians offer targeted benefits to swing voters who put a relatively high value on them. Moreover, microtargeting forces the incumbent to make more generous offers by making the challenger more effective in getting supporters. Both effects are present when the incumbent is sufficiently popular compared to the challenger. We present the conditions under which microtargeting benefits voters.