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Citizens’ preferences about voting rules: self-interest, ideology, and sincerity


  • André Blais

    (Université de Montréal - UdeM (CANADA) - UdeM - Université de Montréal)

  • Jean-François Laslier

    () (PSE - Paris School of Economics, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • François Poinas

    (TSE - Toulouse School of Economics - Toulouse School of Economics)

  • Karine Van Der Straeten

    (TSE - Toulouse School of Economics - Toulouse School of Economics)


This paper studies the determinants of citizens' preferences for different electoral systems. We use data collected through a large internet-based quasi-experiment carried out during the 2012 French presidential election where we invited subjects to cast a vote for real candidates according to four voting rules: two-round (the official system), one-round, the alternative vote, and approval voting. After voting with each of the four voting rules, subjects were also asked to report which system they liked the most. We find that voters prefer systems that are beneficial to the candidate they prefer, that their preference for the official two-round system (weakly) depends on how they actually vote under this system, and that right-wing voters are more supportive of voting rules under which one can vote for only one candidate (one-round and two-round).

Suggested Citation

  • André Blais & Jean-François Laslier & François Poinas & Karine Van Der Straeten, 2015. "Citizens’ preferences about voting rules: self-interest, ideology, and sincerity," PSE - Labex "OSE-Ouvrir la Science Economique" halshs-01310218, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:pseose:halshs-01310218
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-015-0287-2
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Carles Boix, 1999. "Setting the rules of the game: The choice of electoral systems in advanced democracies," Economics Working Papers 367, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    2. André Blais, 2002. "Why Is there So Little Strategic Voting in Canadian Plurality Rule Elections?," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 50(3), pages 445-454, August.
    3. John Aldrich & Jason Reifler & Michael Munger, 2014. "Sophisticated and myopic? Citizen preferences for Electoral College reform," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 158(3), pages 541-558, March.
    4. Bowler, Shaun & Donovan, Todd, 2007. "Reasoning About Institutional Change: Winners, Losers and Support for Electoral Reforms," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 37(03), pages 455-476, July.
    5. repec:cup:apsrev:v:74:y:1980:i:02:p:432-446_16 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Blais, Andr & Dobrzynska, Agnieska & Indridason, Indridi H., 2005. "To Adopt or Not to Adopt Proportional Representation: The Politics of Institutional Choice," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 35(01), pages 182-190, January.
    7. Blais, André & Carty, R. K., 1991. "The Psychological Impact of Electoral Laws: Measuring Duverger's Elusive Factor," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 21(01), pages 79-93, January.
    8. Matthias Weber, 2014. "Choosing Voting Systems behind the Veil of Ignorance: A Two-Tier Voting Experiment," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 14-042/I, Tinbergen Institute.
    9. Kaminski, Marek M, 1999. "How Communism Could Have Been Saved: Formal Analysis of Electoral Bargaining in Poland in 1989," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 98(1-2), pages 83-109, January.
    10. repec:cup:apsrev:v:104:y:2010:i:01:p:111-133_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. repec:spr:stchwe:978-3-642-02839-7 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Luca Bettarelli & Giovanna Iannantuoni & Elena Manzoni & Francesca Rossi, 2017. "Voters’ preferences and electoral systems: the EuroVotePlus experiment in Italy," Economia Politica: Journal of Analytical and Institutional Economics, Springer;Fondazione Edison, vol. 34(1), pages 159-177, April.
    2. Engelmann, Dirk & Grüner, Hans Peter, 2013. "Tailored Bayesian Mechanisms: Experimental Evidence from Two-Stage Voting Games," CEPR Discussion Papers 9544, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.


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