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Pivots versus signals in elections

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  • Meirowitz, Adam
  • Shotts, Kenneth W.

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Meirowitz, Adam & Shotts, Kenneth W., 2009. "Pivots versus signals in elections," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(2), pages 744-771, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:144:y:2009:i:2:p:744-771
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Gratton, Gabriele, 2014. "Pandering and electoral competition," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 163-179.
    3. Hummel, Patrick, 2011. "Abstention and signaling in large repeated elections," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 586-593, June.
    4. Landi, M. & Sodini, M., 2012. "An evolutionary analysis of turnout with conformist citizens," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 36(10), pages 1431-1447.

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