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Multicandidate Elections: Aggregate Uncertainty in the Laboratory

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  • Bouton, Laurent
  • Castanheira, Micael
  • Llorente-Saguer, Aniol

Abstract

The rational-voter model is often criticized on the grounds that two of its central predictions (the paradox of voting and Duverger's law) are at odds with reality. Recent theoretical advances suggest that these empirically unsound predictions might be an artifact of an assumption in those models: the absence of aggregate uncertainty about the distribution of preferences in the electorate. In this paper, we propose the first direct empirical evidence of the effect of aggregate uncertainty in multicandidate elections. Adopting a theory-based experimental approach, we explore whether aggregate uncertainty indeed favors the emergence of non-Duverger's law equilibria in plurality elections. Our experimental results support the main theoretical predictions: sincere voting is a predominant strategy under aggregate uncertainty, whereas without aggregate uncertainty, voters massively coordinate their votes behind one candidate, who wins almost surely.

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  • Bouton, Laurent & Castanheira, Micael & Llorente-Saguer, Aniol, 2015. "Multicandidate Elections: Aggregate Uncertainty in the Laboratory," CEPR Discussion Papers 10481, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:10481
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Seror, Avner & Verdier, Thierry, 2018. "Multi-candidate Political Competition and the Industrial Organization of Politics," CEPR Discussion Papers 13121, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Laurent Bouton & Jorge Gallego & Aniol Llorente-Saguer & Rebecca Morton, 2019. "Runoff Elections in the Laboratory," NBER Working Papers 25949, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Bouton, Laurent & Llorente-Saguer, Aniol & Malherbe, Frédéric, 2017. "Unanimous rules in the laboratory," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 179-198.
    5. Bernardo Moreno & María del Pino Ramos-Sosa & Ismael Rodriguez-Lara, 2019. "Conformity and truthful voting under different voting rules," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 53(2), pages 261-282, August.
    6. Bouton, Laurent & Ogden, Benjamin, 2017. "Ethical Voting in Multicandidate Elections," CEPR Discussion Papers 12374, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Laurent Bouton & Benjamin G. Ogden, 2017. "Group-based Voting in Multicandidate Elections," NBER Working Papers 23898, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Kawamura, Kohei & Vlaseros, Vasileios, 2017. "Expert information and majority decisions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 147(C), pages 77-88.
    9. Cesar Martinelli & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2017. "Communication and Information in Games of Collective Decision: A Survey of Experimental Results," Working Papers 1065, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    aggregate uncertainty; experiments; multicandidate elections; plurality; rational-voter model;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General

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