Splitting, Squeezing and Diluting: Policy Moderation When Candidacy is Endogenous
Universite Laval - Department of Economics; CIRPEE
People have claimed that allowing voters to vote for multiple candidates would lead to more moderate policies and improve social welfare. One of their arguments relies on the squeezing effect, whereby centrist candidates are squeezed between the left and right candidates who capture all the leftist and rightist votes, and leave the centrist candidates with the sole centrist votes. I revisit this claim in a setting where candidacy is endogenous. In this context, I show that allowing voters to vote for multiple candidates can actually lead to more extreme, instead of more moderate, policies! I argue that this happens because of two features: (1) the inability to deter spoiling and duplicate candidacies; and (2) a greater multiplicity of voting profiles, which helps deter candidate defections and new candidate entries. Finally, I identify a set of voting procedures which, under some restrictions, are not subject to these two features, and would lead to the adoption of the most moderate policies.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 49
Keywords: Election, Polarization, Strategic Candidacy, Plurality Voting, Borda Count, Approval Voting, Instant Runoff
JEL Classification: C72, D72, D78working papers series
Date posted: November 29, 2009 ; Last revised: February 10, 2013
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