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The Swing Voter's Curse

  • Timothy J. Feddersen
  • Wolfgang Pesendorfer

The authors analyze two-candidate elections in which some voters are uncertain about the realization of a state variable that affects the utility of all voters. They demonstrate the existence of a swing voter's curse: less informed indifferent voters strictly prefer to abstain rather than vote for either candidate even when voting is costless. The swing voter's curse leads to the equilibrium result that a substantial fraction of the electorate will abstain even though all abstainers strictly prefer voting for one candidate over voting for another. Copyright 1996 by American Economic Association.

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Paper provided by Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science in its series Discussion Papers with number 1064.

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Date of creation: Oct 1995
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Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1064
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  1. Matsusaka, J.C., 1991. "Election Closeness and Voter Turnout: Evidence from California Ballot Propositions," Papers 91-29, Southern California - School of Business Administration.
  2. Thomas Palfrey & Howard Rosenthal, 1983. "A strategic calculus of voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 41(1), pages 7-53, January.
  3. Klevorick, Alvin K. & Rothschild, Michael & Winship, Christopher, 1984. "Information processing and jury decisionmaking," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 245-278, April.
  4. Paul Milgrom & Robert J. Weber, 1981. "A Theory of Auctions and Competitive Bidding," Discussion Papers 447R, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  5. John Ledyard, 1984. "The pure theory of large two-candidate elections," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 44(1), pages 7-41, January.
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