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Strategic Voting under Proportional Representation and Coalition Governments: A Simulation and Laboratory Experiment

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  • Meffert, Michael F.

    () (Sonderforschungsbereich 504)

  • Gschwend, Thomas

    () (Sonderforschungsbereich 504)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Meffert, Michael F. & Gschwend, Thomas, 2007. "Strategic Voting under Proportional Representation and Coalition Governments: A Simulation and Laboratory Experiment," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 07-55, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  • Handle: RePEc:xrs:sfbmaa:07-55
    Note: Financial support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, SFB 504, at the University of Mannheim, is gratefully acknowledged.
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Robert Forsythe, 1990. "An Experimental Study of Voting Rules and Polls in Three-Way Elections," Discussion Papers 927, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    2. Forsythe, R. & Myerson, R. & Rietz, T. & Weber, R., 1991. "An Experiment on Coordination in Multi-Candidate Elections: The Importance of Polls and Election Histories," Working Papers 91-31, University of Iowa, Department of Economics.
    3. repec:cup:apsrev:v:82:y:1988:i:02:p:405-422_08 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Austen-Smith, David & Banks, Jeffrey, 1988. "Elections, Coalitions, and Legislative Outcomes," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 82(02), pages 405-422, June.
    5. Gschwend, Thomas, 2004. "Ticket-Splitting and Strategic Voting," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 05-06, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
    6. 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.
    7. 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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    Cited by:

    1. Meffert, Michael F. & Gschwend, Thomas, 2008. "Strategic Voting in Multiparty Systems : A Group Experiment," Papers 08-10, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.
    2. Meffert, Michael F. & Gschwend, Thomas, 2008. "Strategic Voting in Multiparty Systems: A Group Experiment," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 08-10, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
    3. Huber, Sascha & Gschwend, Thomas & Meffert, Michael F. & Pappi, Franz Urban, 2008. "Erwartungsbildung über den Wahlausgang und ihr Einfluss auf die Wahlentscheidung," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 08-01, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
    4. Huber, Sascha & Gschwend, Thomas & Meffert, Michael F. & Pappi, Franz Urban, 2008. "Erwartungsbildung über den Wahlausgang und ihr Einfluss auf die Wahlentscheidung," Papers 08-01, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.
    5. Meffert, Michael F. & Gschwend, Thomas, 2007. "Voting for coalitions? : The role of coalition preferences and expectations in voting behavior," Papers 07-64, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.
    6. Meffert, Michael F. & Gschwend, Thomas, 2007. "Voting for Coalitions? The Role of Coalition Preferences and Expectations in Voting Behavior," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 07-64, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.

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