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Please don’t vote for me: strategic voting in a natural experiment with perverse incentives

Author

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  • Spenkuch, Jörg L.

Abstract

Whether individuals vote strategically is one of the most important questions at the intersection of economics and political science. Exploiting a flaw in the German electoral system by which a party may gain seats by receiving fewer votes, this paper documents patterns of strategic voting in a large, real world election. During the 2005 elections to the Bundestag, the sudden death of a right-wing candidate necessitated a by-election in one electoral district. Knowing the results in all other districts and aware of the paradoxical incentives in place, a substantial fraction of the electorate reacted tactically and either voted for a party other than their most preferred one, or abstained. As a result, the Christian Democratic Union won an additional mandate, extending its narrow lead over the Social Democrats.

Suggested Citation

  • Spenkuch, Jörg L., 2012. "Please don’t vote for me: strategic voting in a natural experiment with perverse incentives," MPRA Paper 38416, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:38416
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/38416/2/MPRA_paper_38416.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Alvarez, R. Michael & Nagler, Jonathan, 2000. "A New Approach for Modelling Strategic Voting in Multiparty Elections," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 30(01), pages 57-75, January.
    2. 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.
    3. Satterthwaite, Mark Allen, 1975. "Strategy-proofness and Arrow's conditions: Existence and correspondence theorems for voting procedures and social welfare functions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 187-217, April.
    4. Coate, Stephen & Conlin, Michael & Moro, Andrea, 2008. "The performance of pivotal-voter models in small-scale elections: Evidence from Texas liquor referenda," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 582-596, April.
    5. Degan, Arianna & Merlo, Antonio, 2009. "Do voters vote ideologically?," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(5), pages 1868-1894, September.
    6. Gibbard, Allan, 1973. "Manipulation of Voting Schemes: A General Result," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(4), pages 587-601, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Cited by:

    1. Spenkuch, Jörg, 2013. "On the Extent of Strategic Voting," MPRA Paper 50198, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Santosh Anagol & Thomas Fujiwara, 2014. "The Runner-Up Effect," NBER Working Papers 20261, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Bouton, Laurent & Gratton, Gabriele, 2015. "Majority runoff elections: strategic voting and Duverger's hypothesis," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 10(2), May.
    4. Bouton, Laurent & Castanheira, Micael & Llorente-Saguer, Aniol, 2017. "Multicandidate elections: Aggregate uncertainty in the laboratory," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 132-150.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    voting; strategic voting; manipulation of elections;

    JEL classification:

    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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