Pivots versus signals in elections
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.
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