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The Swing Voter's Curse

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  • Feddersen, Timothy J
  • Pesendorfer, Wolfgang

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Feddersen, Timothy J & Pesendorfer, Wolfgang, 1996. "The Swing Voter's Curse," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 408-424, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:86:y:1996:i:3:p:408-24
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    1. repec:cup:apsrev:v:87:y:1993:i:02:p:319-333_09 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. John Ledyard, 1984. "The pure theory of large two-candidate elections," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 44(1), pages 7-41, January.
    3. repec:cup:apsrev:v:62:y:1968:i:01:p:25-42_11 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Milgrom, Paul R & Weber, Robert J, 1982. "A Theory of Auctions and Competitive Bidding," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1089-1122, September.
    5. Matsusaka, John G, 1993. "Election Closeness and Voter Turnout: Evidence from California Ballot Propositions," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 76(4), pages 313-334, August.
    6. Klevorick, Alvin K. & Rothschild, Michael & Winship, Christopher, 1984. "Information processing and jury decisionmaking," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 245-278, April.
    7. Thomas Palfrey & Howard Rosenthal, 1983. "A strategic calculus of voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 41(1), pages 7-53, January.
    8. repec:cup:apsrev:v:68:y:1974:i:02:p:525-536_11 is not listed on IDEAS
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