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Strategic voting under proportional representation and coalition governments : a simulation and laboratory experiment

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  • Meffert, Michael F.
  • Gschwend, Thomas

Abstract

The theory of strategic voting has been tested in experiments for elections in single member districts with three candidates or parties. It is unclear whether it can explain strategic voting behavior in a fairly common type of political system, multi-party systems with proportional representation, minimum vote thresholds, and coalition governments. In this paper, we develop a (non-formal) strategic voting game and show in a simulation that the model produces election scenarios and outcomes with desirable characteristics. We then test the decision-theoretic model in a laboratory experiment. Participants with a purely instrumental (financial) motivation voted in a series of 25 independent elections. The availability of polls and coalition signals by parties was manipulated. The results show that voters are frequently able to make optimal or strategic vote decisions, but that voters also rely on simple decision heuristics and are highly susceptible to coalition signals by parties.

Suggested Citation

  • Meffert, Michael F. & Gschwend, Thomas, 2007. "Strategic voting under proportional representation and coalition governments : a simulation and laboratory experiment," Papers 07-55, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.
  • Handle: RePEc:mnh:spaper:2513
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    11. Meffert, Michael F. & Gschwend, Thomas, 2007. "Polls, Coalition Signals, and Strategic Voting: An Experimental Investigation of Perceptions and Effects," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 07-63, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
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    1. Meffert, Michael F. & Gschwend, Thomas, 2008. "Strategic Voting in Multiparty Systems: A Group Experiment," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 08-10, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
    2. Matias A. Bargsted & Orit Kedar, 2009. "Coalition‐Targeted Duvergerian Voting: How Expectations Affect Voter Choice under Proportional Representation," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 53(2), pages 307-323, April.
    3. Huber, Sascha & Gschwend, Thomas & Meffert, Michael F. & Pappi, Franz Urban, 2008. "Erwartungsbildung über den Wahlausgang und ihr Einfluss auf die Wahlentscheidung," Papers 08-01, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.
    4. Francesco, De Sinopoli & Giovanna, Iannantuoni & Valeria, Maggian & Stefania, Ottone, 2018. "A Two-Party System under the Proportional Rule is Possible: Strategic Voting in the Lab," Working Papers 381, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised 16 May 2018.
    5. Meffert, Michael F. & Gschwend, Thomas, 2007. "Voting for Coalitions? The Role of Coalition Preferences and Expectations in Voting Behavior," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 07-64, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.

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