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The Swing Voter's Curse

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  • Timothy J. Feddersen
  • Wolfgang Pesendorfer

Abstract

The authors analyze two-candidate elections in which some voters are uncertain about the realization of a state variable that affects the utility of all voters. They demonstrate the existence of a swing voter's curse: less informed indifferent voters strictly prefer to abstain rather than vote for either candidate even when voting is costless. The swing voter's curse leads to the equilibrium result that a substantial fraction of the electorate will abstain even though all abstainers strictly prefer voting for one candidate over voting for another. Copyright 1996 by American Economic Association.

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Paper provided by Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science in its series Discussion Papers with number 1064.

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Date of creation: Oct 1995
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Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1064

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  1. Alvin K. Klevorick & Michael Rothschild & Christopher Winship, 1982. "Information Processing and Jury Decisionmaking," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 635, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  2. Matsusaka, John G, 1993. " Election Closeness and Voter Turnout: Evidence from California Ballot Propositions," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 76(4), pages 313-34, August.
  3. Milgrom, Paul R & Weber, Robert J, 1982. "A Theory of Auctions and Competitive Bidding," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1089-1122, September.
  4. Thomas Palfrey & Howard Rosenthal, 1983. "A strategic calculus of voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 41(1), pages 7-53, January.
  5. John Ledyard, 1984. "The pure theory of large two-candidate elections," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 44(1), pages 7-41, January.
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