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Simple plurality versus plurality runoff with privately informed voters


  • César Martinelli

    () (Centro de Investigación Económica, Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México, México, D.F. 10700)


This paper compares two voting methods commonly used in presidential elections: simple plurality voting and plurality runoff. In a situation in which a group of voters have common interests but do not agree on which candidate to support due to private information, information aggregation requires them to split their support between their favorite candidates. However, if a group of voters split their support, they increase the probability that the winner of the election is not one of their favorite candidates. In a model with three candidates, due to this tension between information aggregation and the need for coordination, plurality runoff leads to higher expected utility for the majority than simple plurality voting if the information held by voters about the candidates is not very accurate.

Suggested Citation

  • César Martinelli, 2002. "Simple plurality versus plurality runoff with privately informed voters," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 19(4), pages 901-919.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:sochwe:v:19:y:2002:i:4:p:901-919
    Note: Received: 12 September 2000/Accepted: 8 November 2001

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Stephen Wright & William Riker, 1989. "Plurality and runoff systems and numbers of candidates," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 60(2), pages 155-175, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Massimiliano Ferraresi & Leonzio Rizzo & Alberto Zanardi, 2015. "Policy outcomes of single and double-ballot elections," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 22(6), pages 977-998, December.
    2. Bouton, Laurent & Castanheira, Micael & Llorente-Saguer, Aniol, 2016. "Divided majority and information aggregation: Theory and experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 114-128.
    3. Bouton, Laurent & Gratton, Gabriele, 2015. "Majority runoff elections: strategic voting and Duverger's hypothesis," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 10(2), May.
    4. Jeffrey O’Neill, 2007. "Choosing a runoff election threshold," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 131(3), pages 351-364, June.
    5. Menezes, Aline, 2017. "Do some electoral systems select better politicians than others? Single- vs dual-ballot elections," MPRA Paper 79370, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Amorós, P. & Martínez, Ricardo & Puy, M. Socorro, 2013. "The closed primaries versus the top-two primary," UC3M Working papers. Economics we1319, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
    7. Laurent Bouton & Micael Castanheira, 2012. "One Person, Many Votes: Divided Majority and Information Aggregation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 80(1), pages 43-87, January.
    8. Patrick Hummel, 2014. "Pre-election polling and third party candidates," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 42(1), pages 77-98, January.
    9. J. Goertz, 2014. "Inefficient committees: small elections with three alternatives," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 43(2), pages 357-375, August.
    10. Laurent Bouton, 2013. "A Theory of Strategic Voting in Runoff Elections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(4), pages 1248-1288, June.
    11. repec:eee:gamebe:v:104:y:2017:i:c:p:494-506 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Pablo Amorós & M. Socorro Puy & Ricardo Martínez, 2016. "Closed primaries versus top-two primaries," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 167(1), pages 21-35, April.
    13. Leonzio Rizzo & Alberto Zanardi, 2012. "Single vs double ballot and party coalitions: the impact on fiscal policy. Evidence from Italy," Working Papers 2012/33, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).

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