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Why vote for losers?

  • Micael Castanheira De Moura

Voting Theory generally concludes that -in first-past-the-post elections- 1) All voters should go to effective candidates (Duverger's Law); 2) Parties' platform should converge (Median Voter Theorem). Observations, though, suggest that such predictions are not met in practice. We show that divergence and dispersion of votes is a natural election outcome when there is uncertainty and repetition of elections. "Voting for Losers" increases the informational content of elections, and forces main parties to relocate towards extremists. As a result, they maximize their probability of being elected, not by converging to the median but by diverging to a certain extent. Ideological behavior results then from optimizing considerations alone.

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Paper provided by ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles in its series ULB Institutional Repository with number 2013/10005.

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Date of creation: 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in: European Economic Association. Journal (2003) v.1 n° 5,p.1207-1238
Handle: RePEc:ulb:ulbeco:2013/10005
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