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Tactical Voting and Voter's Sophistication in British Elections

  • St'ephane Dupraz
  • Daniel Muller
  • Lionel Page
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    Although tactical voting attracts a great deal of attention, it is very hard to measure as it requires knowledge of both individuals' voting choices as well as their unobserved preferences. In this paper, we present a simple empirical strategy to nonparametrically identify tactical voting patterns directly from balloting results. This approach allows us to study the magnitude and direction of strategic voting as well as to verify which information voters and parties take into account to determine marginal constituencies. We show that tactical voting played a significant role in the 2010 election, mainly for Liberal-Democratic voters supporting Labour. Moreover, our results suggest that voters seem to form their expectations based on a national swing in vote shares rather than newspaper guides published in the main media outlets or previous election outcomes. We also present some evidence that suggests that campaign spending is not driving tactical voting.

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    File URL: http://external-apps.qut.edu.au/business/documents/QuBEWorkingPapers/2013/TacticalVoting_DM_V3_Jan13.pdf
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    Paper provided by QUT Business School in its series QuBE Working Papers with number 011.

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    Date of creation: 18 Apr 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:qut:qubewp:wp011
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.qut.edu.au/research/research-projects/queensland-behavioural-economics-group-qube

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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. R. Johnston & C. Pattie, 1992. "Using an entropy-maximizing procedure to estimate territorial social indicators: An introduction and illustration," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 27(3), pages 235-256, November.
    3. Gibbard, Allan, 1973. "Manipulation of Voting Schemes: A General Result," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(4), pages 587-601, July.
    4. Paul W. Rhode & Koleman S. Strumpf, 2004. "Historical Presidential Betting Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(2), pages 127-141, Spring.
    5. Meirowitz, Adam, 2005. "Polling games and information revelation in the Downsian framework," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 464-489, May.
    6. Egon Franck & Erwin Verbeek & Stephan Nüesch, 2008. "Prediction Accuracy of Different Market Structures – Bookmakers versus a Betting Exchange," Working Papers 0025, University of Zurich, Center for Research in Sports Administration (CRSA), revised 2009.
    7. Gschwend, Thomas, 2004. "Comparative Politics of Strategic Voting: A Hierarchy of Electoral Systems," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 04-41, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
    8. David P. Myatt, 2007. "On the Theory of Strategic Voting -super-1," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(1), pages 255-281.
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