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Why vote for losers?

  • Micael Castanheira De Moura

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). Such predictions are not always met in practice, however. We show why divergence and vote dispersion is a natural outcome when (i) parties are opportunistic, (ii) there is uncertainty on the position of the median voter and (iii) 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.

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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
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Publication status: Published in: European Economic Association. Journal (2003) v.1 n° 5,p.1207-1238
Handle: RePEc:ulb:ulbeco:2013/10005
Contact details of provider: Postal: CP135, 50, avenue F.D. Roosevelt, 1050 Bruxelles
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  1. Alesina, Alberto, 1988. "Credibility and Policy Convergence in a Two-Party System with Rational Voters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 796-805, September.
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