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Pivots versus signals in elections

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  • Meirowitz, Adam
  • Shotts, Kenneth W.
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    Abstract

    We consider a two-period model of elections in which voters have private information about their policy preferences. A first-period vote can have two types of consequences: it may be pivotal in the first election and it provides a signal that affects candidates' positions in the second election. Pivot events are exceedingly unlikely, but when they occur the effect of a single vote is enormous. In contrast, vote totals always have some signaling effect, but the effect of a single vote is small. We investigate which effect - pivot or signaling - drives equilibrium voting behavior in large electorates.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Theory.

    Volume (Year): 144 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 2 (March)
    Pages: 744-771

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:144:y:2009:i:2:p:744-771

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622869

    Related research

    Keywords: Elections Information Pivot Signaling Voting;

    References

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    1. Battaglini, Marco, 2005. "Sequential voting with abstention," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 445-463, May.
    2. Kenneth Shotts, 2006. "A Signaling Model of Repeated Elections," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 251-261, October.
    3. Micael Castanheira, 2003. "Why Vote For Losers?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(5), pages 1207-1238, 09.
    4. Ronny Razin, 2003. "Signaling and Election Motivations in a Voting Model with Common Values and Responsive Candidates," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(4), pages 1083-1119, 07.
    5. Meirowitz, Adam, 2005. "Polling games and information revelation in the Downsian framework," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 464-489, May.
    6. Myerson, Roger B., 2000. "Large Poisson Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 7-45, September.
    7. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
    8. Colin M. Campbell, 1999. "Large Electorates and Decisive Minorities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(6), pages 1199-1217, December.
    9. Timothy J. Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1995. "The Swing Voter's Curse," Discussion Papers 1064, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    10. Thomas R Palfrey & Howard Rosenthal, 2001. "A Strategic Calculus of Voting," Levine's Working Paper Archive 563824000000000039, David K. Levine.
    11. Timothy Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1997. "Voting Behavior and Information Aggregation in Elections with Private Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1029-1058, September.
    12. Roger B. Myerson, 1994. "Population Uncertainty and Poisson Games," Discussion Papers 1102R, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    13. Piketty, Thomas, 2000. "Voting as Communicating," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(1), pages 169-91, January.
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    Cited by:
    1. Hummel, Patrick, 2011. "Abstention and signaling in large repeated elections," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 586-593, June.
    2. Gabriele Gratton, 2013. "Pandering and Electoral Competition," Discussion Papers 2012-22B, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
    3. Folke, Olle & Persson, Torsten & Rickne, Johanna, 2014. "Preferential Voting, Accountability and Promotions into Political Power: Evidence from Sweden," Working Paper Series 1002, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    4. Massimiliano Landi & Mauro Sodini, 2010. "An Evolutionary Analysis of Turnout With Conformist Citizens," Working Papers 25-2010, Singapore Management University, School of Economics.

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