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Moderating Elections

  • Alberto Alesina
  • Howard Rosenthal

This paper extends the spatial theory of voting to an institutional structure in which policy choices are a function of the composition of the legislature and of the executive. In an institutional setup in which the policy outcome depends upon relative plurality, each voter has incentives to be strategic since the outcome depends upon how everybody else votes. By applying to this game between voters the refinements of Strong Nash and Coalition Proof Nash we prove existence of equilibria with properties which appear intuitive and realistic. In fact, the model has several testable implications which seem consistent with some observed patterns of voting behavior in the United States and perhaps in other democracies in which the executive is directly elected. For instance, the model predicts: a) split-ticket voting; b) for some parameter values, a split government with different parties controlling the executive and the majority of the legislature; and c) the mid-term electoral cycle.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w3072.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3072.

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Date of creation: Aug 1989
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3072
Note: ME
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  1. Alberto Alesina & Howard Rosenthal, 1988. "Partisan Cycles in Congressional Elections and the Macroeconomy," NBER Working Papers 2706, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Bernheim, B. Douglas & Peleg, Bezalel & Whinston, Michael D., 1987. "Coalition-Proof Nash Equilibria I. Concepts," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 1-12, June.
  3. 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.
  4. Wittman, Donald, 1977. "Candidates with policy preferences: A dynamic model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 180-189, February.
  5. Greenberg, Joseph, 1989. "Deriving strong and coalition-proof nash equilibria from an abstract system," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 195-202, October.
  6. Palfrey, Thomas R, 1984. "Spatial Equilibrium with Entry," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(1), pages 139-56, January.
  7. Rosenthal, Howard & Alesina, Alberto, 1989. "Partisan Cycles in Congressional Elections and the Macroeconomy," Scholarly Articles 4553031, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Austen-Smith, David & Banks, Jeffrey., 1987. "Elections, Coalitions, and Legislative Outcomes," Working Papers 643, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
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