Sequential Voting When Long Elections are Costly

23 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2011

Date Written: February 21, 2011


This paper analyzes sequential voting in binary elections when voters are motivated by a desire both to elect their preferred candidate and to avoid a long and costly election. I find a unique equilibrium in which a voter's action depends both on the intensity of the voter's preferences as well as how well the candidates have done in earlier voting rounds. This equilibrium results in momentum in which voters are more likely to vote for the candidate currently in the lead. Furthermore, the probability a voter votes for a candidate is increasing in the size of the candidate's lead. As a consequence, a candidate is more likely to win the election if the candidate's stronger supporters vote earlier in the election.

Suggested Citation

Hummel, Patrick, Sequential Voting When Long Elections are Costly (February 21, 2011). Economics & Politics, Vol. 23, Issue 1, pp. 36-58, 2011. Available at SSRN: or

Patrick Hummel (Contact Author)

Google Inc. ( email )

1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Second Floor
Mountain View, CA 94043
United States

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics