We study a variant of the multi-candidate Hotelling-Downs model that recognizes that politicians, even after declaring candidacy, have the option of withdrawing before the election date. We find that this natural variation dramatically alters equilibrium predictions. Under a mild parametric restriction, an equilibrium always exists for an arbitrary finite number of candidates. Moreover, under some further restriction, every equilibrium must involve policy divergence. Journal of Economic Literature Classification: C70, D70, D72 Correspondent: Abhijit Sengupta, e-mail: email@example.com, telephone: 61 2 9351 6612, fax: 61 2 9351 4341. We would like to thank Andy McLennan and Shino Takayama for helpful comments.
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