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Do voters vote ideologically?

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  • Degan, Arianna
  • Merlo, Antonio

Abstract

In this paper we address the following question: To what extent is the hypothesis that voters vote "ideologically" (i.e., they always vote for the candidate who is ideologically "closest" to them) testable or falsifiable? We show that using data only on how individuals vote in a single election, the hypothesis that voters vote ideologically is irrefutable, regardless of the number of candidates competing in the election. On the other hand, using data on how the same individuals vote in multiple elections, the hypothesis that voters vote ideologically is potentially falsifiable, and we provide general conditions under which the hypothesis can be tested.

Suggested Citation

  • Degan, Arianna & Merlo, Antonio, 2009. "Do voters vote ideologically?," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(5), pages 1868-1894, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:144:y:2009:i:5:p:1868-1894
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    Cited by:

    1. Eijffinger, Sylvester & Mahieu, Ronald & Raes, Louis, 2018. "Inferring hawks and doves from voting records," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 107-120.
    2. Spenkuch, Jörg, 2013. "On the Extent of Strategic Voting," MPRA Paper 50198, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Marc Henry & Ismael Mourifié, 2013. "Euclidean Revealed Preferences: Testing The Spatial Voting Model," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(4), pages 650-666, June.
    4. Antonio Merlo & Áureo de Paula, 2017. "Identification and Estimation of Preference Distributions When Voters Are Ideological," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(3), pages 1238-1263.
    5. Anghel Negriu & Cyrille Piatecki, 2012. "On the performance of voting systems in spatial voting simulations," Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, Springer;Society for Economic Science with Heterogeneous Interacting Agents, vol. 7(1), pages 63-77, May.
    6. Stephen Coate & Brian Knight, 2011. "Government Form and Public Spending: Theory and Evidence from US Municipalities," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 82-112, August.
    7. Geoffroy de Clippel & Kfir Eliaz & Brian Knight, 2014. "On the Selection of Arbitrators," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(11), pages 3434-3458, November.
    8. Iaryczower, Matias & Lewis, Garrett & Shum, Matthew, 2013. "To elect or to appoint? Bias, information, and responsiveness of bureaucrats and politicians," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 230-244.
    9. Andrei Gomberg, 2011. "Vote Revelation: Empirical Characterization of Scoring Rules," Working Papers 1102, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
    10. Bouton, Laurent & Castanheira, Micael & Llorente-Saguer, Aniol, 2017. "Multicandidate elections: Aggregate uncertainty in the laboratory," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 132-150.
    11. Kei Kawai & Yasutora Watanabe, 2013. "Inferring Strategic Voting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(2), pages 624-662, April.
    12. Aurélie Cassette & Etienne Farvaque & Jérôme Héricourt, 2013. "Two-round elections, one-round determinants? Evidence from the French municipal elections," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 156(3), pages 563-591, September.
    13. León, Gianmarco, 2017. "Turnout, political preferences and information: Experimental evidence from Peru," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 56-71.
    14. Jinhui H. Bai & Roger Lagunoff, 2013. "Revealed Political Power," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 54, pages 1085-1115, November.
    15. Azrieli, Yaron, 2011. "Axioms for Euclidean preferences with a valence dimension," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(4-5), pages 545-553.
    16. Eguia, Jon X., 2011. "Foundations of spatial preferences," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 200-205, March.
    17. Antonio Merlo & Aureo de Paula, 2010. "Identification and Estimation of Preference Distributions When Voters Are Ideological, Second Version," PIER Working Paper Archive 13-055, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 13 Oct 2013.
    18. Spenkuch, Jörg L., 2012. "Please don’t vote for me: strategic voting in a natural experiment with perverse incentives," MPRA Paper 38416, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Lionel Page & Paul Antoine-Chevalier, 2016. "Zoon politikon or homo oeconomicus ? How do people vote?," QuBE Working Papers 037, QUT Business School.
    20. Ginzburg, Boris, 2017. "Sincere voting in an electorate with heterogeneous preferences," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 154(C), pages 120-123.

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