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A Theory of Strategic Voting in Runoff Elections

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  • Laurent Bouton

Abstract

This paper analyzes the properties of runoff electoral systems when voters are strategic. A model of three-candidate runoff elections is presented, and two new features are included: the risk of upset victory in the second round is endogenous, and many types of runoff systems are considered. Three main results emerge. First, runoff elections produce equilibria in which only two candidates receive a positive fraction of the votes. Second, a sincere voting equilibrium does not always exist. Finally, runoff systems with a threshold below 50 percent produce an Ortega effect that may lead to the systematic victory of the Condorcet loser.

Suggested Citation

  • Laurent Bouton, 2013. "A Theory of Strategic Voting in Runoff Elections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(4), pages 1248-1288, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:103:y:2013:i:4:p:1248-88
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.103.4.1248
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Carlos Gonçalves & Ricardo Madeira & Mauro Rodrigues, 2008. "Two-ballot versus plurality rule: an empirical investigation on the number of candidates," Working Papers 09_10, Universidade de São Paulo, Faculdade de Economia, Administração e Contabilidade de Ribeirão Preto.
    2. Thomas Piketty, 2000. "Voting as Communicating," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(1), pages 169-191.
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    4. Roger B. Myerson, 1998. "Population uncertainty and Poisson games," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 27(3), pages 375-392.
    5. Myerson, Roger B., 2002. "Comparison of Scoring Rules in Poisson Voting Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 219-251, March.
    6. Bouton, Laurent & Gratton, Gabriele, 2015. "Majority runoff elections: strategic voting and Duverger's hypothesis," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 10(2), May.
    7. Francesco De Sinopoli, 2000. "Sophisticated voting and equilibrium refinements under plurality rule," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 17(4), pages 655-672.
    8. César Martinelli, 2002. "Simple plurality versus plurality runoff with privately informed voters," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 19(4), pages 901-919.
    9. David P. Myatt, 2000. "The New Theory of Strategic Voting," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1586, Econometric Society.
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    12. Martin J. Osborne & Al Slivinski, 1996. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(1), pages 65-96.
    13. Laurent Bouton & Micael Castanheira De Moura, 2009. "The Condorcet-Duverger Trade-Off: swing voters and voting equilibria," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/159859, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    14. Fujiwara, Thomas, 2011. "A Regression Discontinuity Test of Strategic Voting and Duverger's Law," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 6(3–4), pages 197-233, November.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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