Smooth Politicians and Paternalistic Voters: A Theory of Large Elections
We propose a new game theoretic approach to modeling large elections that overcomes the "paradox of voting" in a costly voting framework, without reliance on the assumption of ad hoc preferences for voting. The key innovation that we propose is the adoption of a "smooth" policy rule under which the degree to which parties favor their own interests is increasing in their margin of victory. In other words, mandates matter. We argue that this approach is an improvement over the existing literature as it is consistent with the empirical evidence. Incorporating this policy rule into a costly voting model with paternalistic voters yields a parsimonious model with attractive properties. Specifically, the model predicts that when the size of the electorate grows without bound, limiting turnout is strictly positive both in terms of numbers and proportions. Further, the model preserves the typical comparative statics predictions that have been identified in the extant costly voting models such as the underdog effect and the competition effect. Finally, under the case of selfish agents, we are able to extend Palfrey and Rosenthal's (1985) zero turnout result to a general class of smooth policy rules. Thus, this new approach reconciles the predictions of standard costly voting, both in terms of positive turnout and comparative statics predictions with the assumption of a large electorate environment.
|Date of creation:||Sep 2011|
|Note:||LE PE POL|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Franklin, Mark & Niemi, Richard & Whitten, Guy, 1994. "The Two Faces of Tactical Voting," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(04), pages 549-557, October.
- Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135-135.
- Krasa, Stefan & Polborn, Mattias K., 2009. "Is mandatory voting better than voluntary voting?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 275-291, May.
- Thomas Palfrey & Howard Rosenthal, 1983.
"A strategic calculus of voting,"
Springer, vol. 41(1), pages 7-53, January.
- Thomas R Palfrey & Howard Rosenthal, 2001. "A Strategic Calculus of Voting," Levine's Working Paper Archive 563824000000000039, David K. Levine.
- Jacob Goeree & Jens Großer, 2007. "Welfare Reducing Polls," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 31(1), pages 51-68, April.
- Stephen Coate & Michael Conlin, 2004. "A Group Rule–Utilitarian Approach to Voter Turnout: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1476-1504, December.
- Colin M. Campbell, 1999. "Large Electorates and Decisive Minorities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(6), pages 1199-1217, December.
- Aaron Edlin & Andrew Gelman & Noah Kaplan, 2007. "Voting as a Rational Choice: Why and How People Vote to Improve the Well-Being of Others," NBER Working Papers 13562, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)