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Why Vote for Losers?

  • Castanheira, Micael

Voting Theory generally concludes that, in first-past-the-post elections, all votes should go to effective candidates (Duverger’s Law), and parties should adopt a similar platform (Median Voter Theorem). Such predictions are not always met in practice, however. We show why divergence and vote dispersion is a natural outcome when (i) parties are opportunistic, (ii) there is uncertainty on the position of the median voter and (iii) elections are repeated. ‘Voting for losers’ increases the informational content of elections, and may induce mainstream parties to relocate towards extremists. As a result, to maximize their probability of being elected, they do not adopt median platforms, but instead diverge to a certain extent.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3404.

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Date of creation: Jun 2002
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3404
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  1. Lohmann, Susanne, 2000. " Collective Action Cascades: An Informational Rationale for the Power in Numbers," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(5), pages 655-84, December.
  2. Roger B. Myerson & Robert J. Weber, 1988. "A Theory of Voting Equilibria," Discussion Papers 782, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  3. Piketty, Thomas, 1999. "The information-aggregation approach to political institutions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 791-800, April.
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  6. Myerson, Roger B., 1999. "Theoretical comparisons of electoral systems," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 671-697, April.
  7. Alesina, Alberto, 1988. "Credibility and Policy Convergence in a Two-Party System with Rational Voters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 796-805, September.
  8. Myerson, Roger B., 1998. "Extended Poisson Games and the Condorcet Jury Theorem," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 111-131, October.
  9. Micael Castanheira, . "Why Vote for Losers?," Working Papers 125, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  10. Timothy Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1994. "Voting Behavior and Information Aggregation in Elections with Private Information," Discussion Papers 1117, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  11. Piketty, Thomas, 2000. "Voting as Communicating," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(1), pages 169-91, January.
  12. Feddersen, Timothy J & Pesendorfer, Wolfgang, 1996. "The Swing Voter's Curse," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 408-24, June.
  13. Lohmann, Susanne, 1994. "Information Aggregation through Costly Political Action," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 518-30, June.
  14. John E. Roemer, 1997. "Political-economic equilibrium when parties represent constituents: The unidimensional case," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 479-502.
  15. Palfrey, Thomas R, 1984. "Spatial Equilibrium with Entry," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(1), pages 139-56, January.
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  17. Myerson, Roger B., 2000. "Large Poisson Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 7-45, September.
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