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Sorting Out Mechanical and Psychological Effects in Candidate Elections: An Appraisal with Experimental Data

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  • Blais, André
  • Laslier, Jean-François
  • Sauger, Nicolas
  • Van Der Straeten, Karine

Abstract

The paper proposes a way to measure mechanical and psychological effects of majority runoff versus plurality electoral systems in candidate elections. Building on a series of laboratory experiments, we evaluate these effects with respect to the probability of electing a Condorcet winner candidate. In our experiment, the runoff system very slightly favours the Condorcet winner candidate, but this total effect is small. We show that this is the case because the mechanical and psychological effects tend to cancel each other out. Compared to plurality, the mechanical effect of runoffs is to systematically advantage the Condorcet winner candidate, as usually assumed; but our study detects an opposite psychological effect, to the disadvantage of this candidate.

Suggested Citation

  • Blais, André & Laslier, Jean-François & Sauger, Nicolas & Van Der Straeten, Karine, 2012. "Sorting Out Mechanical and Psychological Effects in Candidate Elections: An Appraisal with Experimental Data," TSE Working Papers 12-296, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  • Handle: RePEc:tse:wpaper:25769
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Karine Van der Straeten & Jean-François Laslier & Nicolas Sauger & André Blais, 2010. "Strategic, sincere, and heuristic voting under four election rules: an experimental study," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 35(3), pages 435-472, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bouton, Laurent & Gratton, Gabriele, 2015. "Majority runoff elections: strategic voting and Duverger's hypothesis," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 10(2), May.
    2. Arenas, Andreu, 2016. "Sticky votes," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 132(PA), pages 12-25.

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