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Context-dependent Voting

Author

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  • Callander, Steven
  • Wilson, Catherine H.

Abstract

In recent decades psychologists have shown that the standard model of individual choice is often violated as choices are influenced by the decision context. We propose that voting behavior may be similarly influenced and we introduce a theory of context-dependent voting . Context-dependence implies that preferences over any pair of alternatives may depend not just on the two options but on the entire choice set. With an analysis of data gathered during the 1996 U.S. congressional election we confirm the presence of a significant context-dependent effect on voting behavior. In addition, we demonstrate that, when applied to a simple, standard model of electoral competition, context-dependent voting yields an equilibrium in which only two candidates compete and adopt divergent policy platforms, thereby deterring additional entry. The equilibrium is simultaneously consistent with policy divergence and the stability of two-party political systems that underlies Duverger's Law.

Suggested Citation

  • Callander, Steven & Wilson, Catherine H., 2006. "Context-dependent Voting," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 1(3), pages 227-254, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:now:jlqjps:100.00000007
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/100.00000007
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    Cited by:

    1. Gennaro Amendola & Luigi Marengo & Simona Settepanella, 2012. "Decidability and manipulability in social choice," LEM Papers Series 2012/11, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    2. Wittkowski Knut M. & Song Tingting & Anderson Kent & Daniels John E., 2008. "U-Scores for Multivariate Data in Sports," Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, De Gruyter, vol. 4(3), pages 1-24, July.
    3. Michael Peress, 2010. "The spatial model with non-policy factors: a theory of policy-motivated candidates," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 34(2), pages 265-294, February.
    4. Giorgio Fagiolo & Lucia Alessi & Matteo Barigozzi & Marco Capasso, 2010. "On the distributional properties of household consumption expenditures: the case of Italy," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 717-741, June.
    5. Callander, Steven & Wilson, Catherine H., 2008. "Context-dependent voting and political ambiguity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 565-581, April.
    6. James Adams & Thomas Brunell & Bernard Grofman & Samuel Merrill, 2010. "Why candidate divergence should be expected to be just as great (or even greater) in competitive seats as in non-competitive ones," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 145(3), pages 417-433, December.
    7. Luigi Maregno & Corrado Pasquali, 2008. "A computational voting model," LEM Papers Series 2008/24, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    8. Luigi Marengo & Corrado Pasquali, 2011. "The construction of choice: a computational voting model," Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, Springer;Society for Economic Science with Heterogeneous Interacting Agents, vol. 6(2), pages 139-156, November.
    9. Luigi Marengo & Davide Pirino & Simona Settepanella & Akimichi Takemura, 2012. "Decidability in complex social choices," LEM Papers Series 2012/12, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    10. Benjamin Lockwood, 2015. "Voter Confirmation Bias and Electoral Accountability," CESifo Working Paper Series 5415, CESifo Group Munich.
    11. Lockwood, Ben, 2017. "Confirmation Bias and Electoral Accountability," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 11(4), pages 471-501, February.
    12. Luigi Marengo & Simona Settepanella, 2010. "Social choice among complex objects," LEM Papers Series 2010/02, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    13. Michael Peress, 2011. "Securing the base: electoral competition under variable turnout," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 148(1), pages 87-104, July.

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