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

  • Spenkuch, Jörg L.

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.

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File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/38416/2/MPRA_paper_38416.pdf
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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 38416.

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Date of creation: Apr 2012
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:38416
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  1. 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.
  2. Degan, Arianna & Merlo, Antonio, 2009. "Do voters vote ideologically?," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(5), pages 1868-1894, September.
  3. Gibbard, Allan, 1973. "Manipulation of Voting Schemes: A General Result," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(4), pages 587-601, July.
  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. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
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