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Identifying the bandwagon effect in two-round elections

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  • Áron Kiss

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  • Gábor Simonovits

Abstract

We propose a new method to test for the existence of the bandwagon effect, the notion that voters are more likely to vote for a given candidate if they expect the candidate to win. Two-round election systems with a large number of single-member districts offer an ideal testing ground because results from the first round provide a better benchmark for voter expectations than any possible alternative measure. Using data from the 2002 and 2006 general elections in Hungary, we find that the lead of a candidate in the first round is magnified by about 10 percent in the second round, controlling for country-wide swings of the electorate between the two rounds and for the behavior of voters of smaller parties. A separate exercise suggests that at least part of the effect is caused by the lower probability of individuals voting in the second round if their preferred candidate is likely to lose by a large margin. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Suggested Citation

  • Áron Kiss & Gábor Simonovits, 2014. "Identifying the bandwagon effect in two-round elections," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 160(3), pages 327-344, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:160:y:2014:i:3:p:327-344
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-013-0146-y
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Robert Hodgson & John Maloney, 2013. "Bandwagon effects in British elections, 1885–1910," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 157(1), pages 73-90, October.
    2. Christine Fauvelle-Aymar & Abel François, 2006. "The impact of closeness on turnout: An empirical relation based on a study of a two-round ballot," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 127(3), pages 461-483, June.
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    4. Marsh, Catherine, 1985. "Back on the Bandwagon: The Effect of Opinion Polls on Public Opinion," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 51-74, January.
    5. Steven Callander, 2007. "Bandwagons and Momentum in Sequential Voting," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(3), pages 653-684.
    6. Hong, Chew Soo & Konrad, Kai A, 1998. "Bandwagon Effects and Two-Party Majority Voting," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 165-172, May-June.
    7. John Ashworth & Benny Geys & Bruno Heyndels, 2006. "Everyone likes a winner: An empirical test of the effect of electoral closeness on turnout in a context of expressive voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 128(3), pages 383-405, September.
    8. Morwitz, Vicki G & Pluzinski, Carol, 1996. "Do Polls Reflect Opinions or Do Opinions Reflect Polls? The Impact of Political Polling on Voters' Expectations, Preferences, and Behavior," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(1), pages 53-67, June.
    9. H. Leibenstein, 1950. "Bandwagon, Snob, and Veblen Effects in the Theory of Consumers' Demand," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(2), pages 183-207.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alberto Grillo, 2017. "Risk aversion and bandwagon effect in the pivotal voter model," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 172(3), pages 465-482, September.
    2. Vincent Pons & Clémence Tricaud, 2019. "The Large Effects of a Small Win: How Past Rankings Shape the Behavior of Voters and Candidates," NBER Working Papers 26599, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Felix Arnold, 2015. "Turnout and Closeness: Evidence from 60 Years of Bavarian Mayoral Elections," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1462, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bandwagon effect; Underdog effect; Two-round elections; Runoff; Turnout; West Coast effect; D72; D80;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General

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