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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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    Cited by:

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    2. Philippos Louis & Orestis Troumpounis & Nikolaos Tsakas & Dimitrios Xefteris, 2020. "Protest voting in the laboratory," Working Papers 288072952, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    3. 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.
    4. Dan Usher, 2014. "An alternative explanation of the chance of casting a pivotal vote," Rationality and Society, , vol. 26(1), pages 105-138, February.
    5. Alastair Smith & Bruce Bueno de Mesquita & Tom LaGatta, 2017. "Group incentives and rational voting1," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 29(2), pages 299-326, April.
    6. Gratton, Gabriele, 2014. "Pandering and electoral competition," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 163-179.
    7. Hummel, Patrick, 2011. "Abstention and signaling in large repeated elections," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 586-593, June.
    8. Prato, Carlo & Wolton, Stephane, 2017. "Wisdom of the Crowd? Information Aggregation and Electoral Incentives," MPRA Paper 82753, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Mizuno, Nobuhiro & Okazawa, Ryosuke, 2018. "Why do voters elect less qualified candidates?," MPRA Paper 89215, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. 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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    12. Luis Fernando Medina, 2011. "Is there really a turnout paradox?," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 23(3), pages 382-399, July.

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