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Majority runoff elections: strategic voting and Duverger's hypothesis

  • Bouton, Laurent

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Georgetown University)

  • Gratton, Gabriele

    ()

    (School of Economics, Australian School of Business, UNSW)

The majority runoff system is widely used around the world. Yet, our understanding of its properties and of voters’ behavior is limited. In this paper, we fully characterize the set of strictly perfect voting equilibria in large three-candidate majority runoff elections. Considering all possible distributions of preference orderings and intensities, we prove that only two types of equilibria can exist. First, there are always equilibria in which only two candidates receive votes. Second, there may exist an equilibrium in which three candidates receive votes. Its characteristics challenge common beliefs: (i) neither sincere voting by all voters, nor push over tactics (i.e. supporters of the front-runner voting for a less-preferred candidate in order to influence who will face the front-runner in the second round) are supported in equilibrium, and (ii) the winner does not necessarily have democratic legitimacy since the Condorcet winner may not even participate in the second round.

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Handle: RePEc:the:publsh:1642
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  1. Spenkuch, Jörg, 2013. "On the Extent of Strategic Voting," MPRA Paper 50198, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Piketty, Thomas, 2000. "Voting as Communicating," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(1), pages 169-91, January.
  3. Roger B. Myerson, 1994. "Population Uncertainty and Poisson Games," Discussion Papers 1102, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  4. Cesar Martinelli, 2000. "Simple Plurality versus Plurality Runoff with Privately Informed Voters," Working Papers 0004, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
  5. Matthias Messner & Mattias Polborn, 2007. "Strong and coalition-proof political equilibria under plurality and runoff rule," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 287-314, January.
  6. Roger B. Myerson, 1997. "Large Poisson Games," Discussion Papers 1189, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  7. Donald G. Saari, 2003. "Unsettling aspects of voting theory," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 22(3), pages 529-555, October.
  8. Blais, André & Laslier, Jean-François & Sauger, Nicolas & Van Der Straeten, Karine, 2012. "Sorting Out Mechanical and Psychological Effects in Candidate Elections: An Appraisal with Experimental Data," IDEI Working Papers 711, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  9. Smith, John H, 1973. "Aggregation of Preferences with Variable Electorate," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(6), pages 1027-41, November.
  10. Laurent Bouton, 2013. "A Theory of Strategic Voting in Runoff Elections," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/160854, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  11. Bouton, Laurent & Castanheira, Micael, 2008. "One Person, Many Votes: Divided Majority and Information Aggregation," CEPR Discussion Papers 6695, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. De Sinopoli, Francesco & Pimienta, Carlos, 2009. "Undominated (and) perfect equilibria in Poisson games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 775-784, July.
  13. Roger B. Myerson, 1998. "Comparison of Scoring Rules in Poisson Voting Games," Discussion Papers 1214, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  14. Yasutora Watanabe & Kei Kawai, 2009. "Inferring Strategic Voting," 2009 Meeting Papers 803, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  15. Martin J. Osborne & Al Slivinksi, 1995. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," Department of Economics Working Papers 1995-01, McMaster University.
  16. 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.
  17. Callander, Steven, 1999. "Electoral Competition with Entry," Working Papers 1083, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  18. Myerson, Roger B., 2013. "Fundamentals of Social Choice Theory," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 8(3), pages 305-337, 06.
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