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Multicandidate Elections: Aggregate Uncertainty in the Laboratory

Author

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  • Laurent Bouton

    (Georgetown University, Université Libre de Bruxelles, CEPR and NBER)

  • Micael Castanheira

    (Université Libre de Bruxelles, FNRS and CEPR)

  • Aniol Llorente-Saguer

    (Queen Mary University of London)

Abstract

The rational-voter model is often criticised on the grounds that two of its central predictions (the paradox of voting and Duverger's Law) are at odds with reality. Recent theoretical advances suggest that these empirically unsound predictions might be an artifact of an (arguably unrealistic) assumption: the absence of aggregate uncertainty about the distribution of preferences in the electorate. In this paper, we propose direct empirical evidence of the effect of aggregate uncertainty in multicandidate elections. Adopting a theory-based experimental approach, we explore whether aggregate uncertainty indeed favours the emergence of non-Duverger's law equilibria in plurality elections. Our experimental results support the main theoretical predictions: sincere voting is a predominant strategy under aggregate uncertainty, whereas without aggregate uncertainty, voters massively coordinate their votes behind one candidate, who wins almost surely.

Suggested Citation

  • Laurent Bouton & Micael Castanheira & Aniol Llorente-Saguer, 2015. "Multicandidate Elections: Aggregate Uncertainty in the Laboratory," Working Papers 778, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:qmw:qmwecw:778
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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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. Seror, Avner & Verdier, Thierry, 2018. "Multi-candidate Political Competition and the Industrial Organization of Politics," CEPR Discussion Papers 13121, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Bouton, Laurent & Llorente-Saguer, Aniol & Malherbe, Frédéric, 2017. "Unanimous rules in the laboratory," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 179-198.
    4. Laurent Bouton & Jorge Gallego & Aniol Llorente-Saguer & Rebecca Morton, 2022. "Run-off Elections in the Laboratory [‘Sophisticated’ voting in the 1988 presidential primaries’]," The Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 132(641), pages 106-146.
    5. Louis, Philippos & Troumpounis, Orestis & Tsakas, Nikolas & Xefteris, Dimitrios, 2022. "Coordination with preferences over the coalition size," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 194(C), pages 105-123.
    6. Cesar Martinelli & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2017. "Communication and Information in Games of Collective Decision: A Survey of Experimental Results," Working Papers 1065, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science.
    7. Bernardo Moreno & María del Pino Ramos-Sosa & Ismael Rodriguez-Lara, 2019. "Conformity and truthful voting under different voting rules," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 53(2), pages 261-282, August.
    8. Vincent Pons & Clémence Tricaud, 2018. "Expressive Voting and Its Cost: Evidence From Runoffs With Two or Three Candidates," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 86(5), pages 1621-1649, September.
    9. Bouton, Laurent & Ogden, Benjamin, 2017. "Ethical Voting in Multicandidate Elections," CEPR Discussion Papers 12374, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Laurent Bouton & Benjamin G. Ogden, 2017. "Group-based Voting in Multicandidate Elections," NBER Working Papers 23898, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Kawamura, Kohei & Vlaseros, Vasileios, 2017. "Expert information and majority decisions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 147(C), pages 77-88.
    12. Johanna M.M. Goertz & Kirill Chernomaz, 2019. "Voting in Three-Alternative Committees: An Experiment," Games, MDPI, vol. 10(2), pages 1-23, May.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Rational voter model; Multicandidate elections; Plurality; Aggregate;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General

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