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Multicandidate Elections: Aggregate Uncertainty in the Laboratory

Author

Listed:
  • 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 criticized 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 favors 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:wp778
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Citations

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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. Bouton, Laurent & Llorente-Saguer, Aniol & Malherbe, Frédéric, 2017. "Unanimous rules in the laboratory," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 179-198.
    3. Laurent Bouton & Benjamin G. Ogden, 2017. "Group-based Voting in Multicandidate Elections," NBER Working Papers 23898, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Kawamura, Kohei & Vlaseros, Vasileios, 2017. "Expert information and majority decisions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 147(C), pages 77-88.
    5. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Rational voter model; Multicandidate elections; Plurality; Aggregate uncertainty; Experiments;

    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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