Please Don’t Vote for Me: Voting in a Natural Experiment with Perverse Incentives
32 Pages Posted: 29 Apr 2012 Last revised: 21 Jan 2017
Date Written: December 2013
Whether individuals vote strategically is one of the most important questions at the intersection of economics and political science. Exploiting a aw in the German electoral system by which a party may gain seats by receiving fewer votes, this paper documents patterns of preference misrepresentation in a large, real world election. During the 2005 elections to the Bundestag, the sudden death of a rightwing candidate necessitated a by-election in one electoral district. Knowing the results in all other districts and given the paradoxical incentives in place, a substantial fraction of the electorate voted for a party other than their most preferred one, or abstained. As a result, the Christian Democratic Union won an additional mandate, extending its narrow lead over the Social Democrats.
Keywords: voting, strategic voting, manipulation of elections
JEL Classification: D7, D72, P16
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation