Would letting people vote for multiple candidates yield policy moderation?
We investigate whether letting people vote for multiple candidates would yield policy moderation. We do so in a setting that takes three key features of elections into account, namely, strategic voting, endogenous candidacy and policy motivation on the part of the candidates. We consider two classes of voting rules. One class consists of the voting rules where each voter casts several equally-weighed votes for the different candidates. The other class consists of the voting rules where each voter rank-orders the candidates. We identify conditions under which these voting rules yield policy moderation. We also show that these voting rules may yield policy extremism instead of policy moderation if one (or several) of the conditions is not satisfied! Finally, we find that amongst these voting rules the extent of policy moderation is maximal under the Borda Count if we consider only equilibria where all candidates are serious contenders. However, this result does not carry over to spoiler equilibria, where Approval Voting can yield more moderate policy outcomes than the Borda Count.
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