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On the Extent of Strategic Voting

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  • Spenkuch, Jörg

Abstract

Social scientists have long speculated about individuals' tendencies to misrepresent their preferences in order to affect the outcome of social choice mechanisms. The fact that preference orderings are generally unobserved, however, has made it very difficult to document strategic behavior empirically. Exploiting the incentive structure of Germany's voting system to solve the fundamental identification problem, this paper estimates the extent of strategic voting in large, real-world elections. The evidence indicates that approximately 35% of voters abandon their most preferred candidate if she is not in contention for victory. As predicted by theory, tactical behavior has a non-trivial impact on individual races. Yet, as one aggregates across districts, these distortions partially offset each other, resulting in considerably more modest effects on the overall distribution of seats.

Suggested Citation

  • Spenkuch, Jörg, 2013. "On the Extent of Strategic Voting," MPRA Paper 50198, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:50198
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/60100/1/MPRA_paper_60100.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Kei Kawai & Yasutora Watanabe, 2013. "Inferring Strategic Voting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(2), pages 624-662, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bouton, Laurent & Castanheira, Micael & Llorente-Saguer, Aniol, 2016. "Divided majority and information aggregation: Theory and experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 114-128.
    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. Antonio Merlo & Áureo de Paula, 2017. "Identification and Estimation of Preference Distributions When Voters Are Ideological," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(3), pages 1238-1263.
    5. Antonio Merlo & Aureo de Paula, 2010. "Identification and Estimation of Preference Distributions When Voters Are Ideological, Second Version," PIER Working Paper Archive 13-055, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 13 Oct 2013.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    voting; strategic voting; strategyproofness in social choice; elections; Germany;

    JEL classification:

    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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