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Why vote for losers?

Author

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  • Micael Castanheira De Moura

Abstract

Voting theory generally concludes that, in first-past-the-post elections, all votes should go to effective candidates (Duverger's Law), and parties should adopt a similar platform (median voter theorem). However, such predictions are not always met in practice. We show why divergence and vote dispersion is a natural outcome when (a) parties are opportunistic, (b) there is uncertainty on the position of the median voter and (c) elections are repeated. "Voting for losers" increases the informational content of elections, and may induce mainstream parties to relocate towards extremists. As a result, to maximize their probability of being elected, they do not adopt median platforms, but instead diverge to a certain extent. © 2003 by the European Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Micael Castanheira De Moura, 2003. "Why vote for losers?," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/10005, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:ulb:ulbeco:2013/10005
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Piketty, Thomas, 1999. "The information-aggregation approach to political institutions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 791-800, April.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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