Strategic Voting under Proportional Representation and Coalition Governments: A Simulation and Laboratory Experiment
The theory of strategic voting has been tested in experiments for elections in single member districts with three candidates or parties. It is unclear whether it can explain strategic voting behavior in a fairly common type of political system, multi-party systems with proportional representation, minimum vote thresholds, and coalition governments. In this paper, we develop a (non-formal) strategic voting game and show in a simulation that the model produces election scenarios and outcomes with desirable characteristics. We then test the decision-theoretic model in a laboratory experiment. Participants with a purely instrumental (financial) motivation voted in a series of 25 independent elections. The availability of polls and coalition signals by parties was manipulated. The results show that voters are frequently able to make optimal or strategic vote decisions, but that voters also rely on simple decision heuristics and are highly susceptible to coalition signals by parties.
|Date of creation:||30 Jul 2007|
|Note:||Financial support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, SFB 504, at the University of Mannheim, is gratefully acknowledged.|
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- Forsythe, R. & Myerson, R. & Rietz, T. & Weber, R., 1991.
"An Experiment on Coordination in Multi-Candidate Elections: The Importance of Polls and Election Histories,"
91-31, University of Iowa, Department of Economics.
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- Gschwend, Thomas, 2004. "Ticket-Splitting and Strategic Voting," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 05-06, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
- Robert Forsythe, 1990.
"An Experimental Study of Voting Rules and Polls in Three-Way Elections,"
927, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Forsythe, R. & Myerson, R. & Rietz, T. & Weber, R., 1991. "An Experimental Study of Voting Rules and Polls in Three- Way Elections," Working Papers 91-04, University of Iowa, Department of Economics.
- Meffert, Michael F. & Gschwend, Thomas, 2007. "Polls, Coalition Signals, and Strategic Voting: An Experimental Investigation of Perceptions and Effects," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 07-63, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
- Austen-Smith, David & Banks, Jeffrey., 1987. "Elections, Coalitions, and Legislative Outcomes," Working Papers 643, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
- Cherry, Todd L & Kroll, Stephan, 2003. "Crashing the Party: An Experimental Investigation of Strategic Voting in Primary Elections," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 114(3-4), pages 387-420, March.
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