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Why Vote for Losers?

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  • Castanheira, Micael

Abstract

Voting Theory generally concludes that, in first-past-the-post elections, all votes should go to effective candidates (Duverger’s Law), and parties should adopt a similar platform (Median Voter Theorem). Such predictions are not always met in practice, however. We show why divergence and vote dispersion is a natural outcome when (i) parties are opportunistic, (ii) there is uncertainty on the position of the median voter and (iii) elections are repeated. ‘Voting for losers’ increases the informational content of elections, and may induce mainstream parties to relocate towards extremists. As a result, to maximize their probability of being elected, they do not adopt median platforms, but instead diverge to a certain extent.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3404.

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Date of creation: Jun 2002
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3404

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Keywords: Duverger's Law; Poisson Games; signalling; voting;

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  1. 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.
  2. Alesina, Alberto, 1988. "Credibility and Policy Convergence in a Two-Party System with Rational Voters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 796-805, September.
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  6. Roger B. Myerson, 1994. "Population Uncertainty and Poisson Games," Discussion Papers 1102R, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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  8. Piketty, Thomas, 2000. "Voting as Communicating," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(1), pages 169-91, January.
  9. Micael Castanheira De Moura, 2003. "Why vote for losers?," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/10005, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  10. Myerson, Roger B., 2000. "Large Poisson Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 7-45, September.
  11. Palfrey, Thomas R, 1984. "Spatial Equilibrium with Entry," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(1), pages 139-56, January.
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  13. Piketty, Thomas, 1999. "The information-aggregation approach to political institutions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 791-800, April.
  14. Wittman, Donald, 1977. "Candidates with policy preferences: A dynamic model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 180-189, February.
  15. Lohmann, Susanne, 2000. " Collective Action Cascades: An Informational Rationale for the Power in Numbers," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(5), pages 655-84, December.
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  17. Lohmann, Susanne, 1994. "Information Aggregation through Costly Political Action," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 518-30, June.
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