Majority Runoff Elections: Strategic Voting and Duverger's Hypothesis

36 Pages Posted: 16 Sep 2013

See all articles by Laurent Bouton

Laurent Bouton

Georgetown University - Department of Economics

Gabriele Gratton

UNSW Australia Business School, School of Economics

Date Written: September 2013

Abstract

The majority runoff system is widely used around the world. Yet, our understanding of its properties and of voters’ behavior is limited. In this paper, we fully characterize the set of strictly perfect voting equilibria in large three-candidate majority runoff elections. Considering all possible distributions of preference orderings and intensities, we prove that only two types of equilibria can exist. First, there are always equilibria in which only two candidates receive votes. Second, there may exist an equilibrium in which three candidates receive votes. Its characteristics challenge common beliefs: (i) neither sincere voting by all voters, nor push over tactics (i.e. supporters of the front-runner voting for a less-preferred candidate in order to influence who will face the front-runner in the second round) are supported in equilibrium, and (ii) the winner does not necessarily have democratic legitimacy since the Condorcet winner may not even participate in the second round.

Keywords: strategic voting, runoff elections, Poisson Games

JEL Classification: D72

Suggested Citation

Bouton, Laurent and Gratton, Gabriele, Majority Runoff Elections: Strategic Voting and Duverger's Hypothesis (September 2013). UNSW Australian School of Business Research Paper No. 2013-23, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2326258 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2326258

Laurent Bouton (Contact Author)

Georgetown University - Department of Economics ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States

Gabriele Gratton

UNSW Australia Business School, School of Economics ( email )

High Street
Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia

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