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Strategic Voting under Proportional Representation


  • Cox, Gary W
  • Shugart, Matthew Soberg


Previous investigations of strategic voting equilibria in mass electorates have looked only at elections held under plurality-rule electoral laws. This paper investigates such equilibria in multimember districts operating under various largest-remainders methods of proportional representation (PR). In principle, strategic voting imposes a limit on the number of viable lists under PR, just as it imposes a limit on the number of viable candidates under plurality rule, as noted long ago. The results proved here provide some formal underpinning for this idea and yield specific hypotheses, for each electoral system, concerning the maximum number of lists/candidates consistent with equilibrium levels of strategic voting. Our results also clarify the conditions under which these theoretical upper bounds on the number of lists/candidates are binding in practice. We use Colombian and Japanese electoral data to test the model's predictions. Copyright 1996 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Cox, Gary W & Shugart, Matthew Soberg, 1996. "Strategic Voting under Proportional Representation," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(2), pages 299-324, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jleorg:v:12:y:1996:i:2:p:299-324

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Gschwend, Thomas, 2008. "Electoral system change in Belgium 2003 : party strategies and voter responses," Papers 08-29, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.
    2. Carina Bischoff, 2013. "Electorally unstable by supply or demand?—an examination of the causes of electoral volatility in advanced industrial democracies," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 156(3), pages 537-561, September.
    3. repec:gig:joupla:v:3:y:2011:i:2:p:3-41 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Michael Herrmann, 2012. "Voter uncertainty and failure of Duverger’s law: an empirical analysis," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 151(1), pages 63-90, April.
    5. SLINKO, Arkadii & WHITE, Shaun, 2006. "On the Manipulability of Proportional Representation," Cahiers de recherche 2006-20, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
    6. Gschwend, Thomas, 2005. "Institutional incentives for strategic voting : the case of Portugal," Papers 05-03, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.
    7. Gschwend, Thomas, 2005. "Tickel-splitting and strategic voting under mixed electoral rules : evidence from Germany," Papers 05-06, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.
    8. Artabe, Alaitz & Gardeazabal, Javier, 2014. "Strategic Votes and Sincere Counterfactuals," Political Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(02), pages 243-257, March.
    9. Marc Guinjoan & Pablo Simón & Sandra Bermúdez & Ignacio Lago, 2014. "Expectations in Mass Elections: Back to the Future?," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1346-1359, December.
    10. Yoichi Hizen, 2015. "Does a Least-Preferred Candidate Win a Seat? A Comparison of Three Electoral Systems," Economies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(1), pages 1-35, January.
    11. Gschwend, Thomas, 2004. "Comparative politics of strategic voting : a hierarchy of electoral systems," Papers 04-41, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.

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