Multicandidate Elections: Aggregate Uncertainty in the Laboratory

39 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2015

See all articles by Laurent Bouton

Laurent Bouton

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB)

Micael Castanheira

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Aniol Llorente-Saguer

Queen Mary University of London

Date Written: March 2015

Abstract

The rational-voter model is often criticized on the grounds that two of its central predictions (the paradox of voting and Duverger's law) are at odds with reality. Recent theoretical advances suggest that these empirically unsound predictions might be an artifact of an assumption in those models: the absence of aggregate uncertainty about the distribution of preferences in the electorate. In this paper, we propose the first direct empirical evidence of the effect of aggregate uncertainty in multicandidate elections. Adopting a theory-based experimental approach, we explore whether aggregate uncertainty indeed favors the emergence of non-Duverger's law equilibria in plurality elections. Our experimental results support the main theoretical predictions: sincere voting is a predominant strategy under aggregate uncertainty, whereas without aggregate uncertainty, voters massively coordinate their votes behind one candidate, who wins almost surely.

Keywords: aggregate uncertainty, experiments, multicandidate elections, plurality, rational-voter model

JEL Classification: C92, D70

Suggested Citation

Bouton, Laurent and Castanheira, Micael and Llorente-Saguer, Aniol, Multicandidate Elections: Aggregate Uncertainty in the Laboratory (March 2015). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP10481, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2575785

Laurent Bouton (Contact Author)

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) ( email )

CP 132 Av FD Roosevelt 50
Brussels, Brussels 1050
Belgium

Micael Castanheira

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES) ( email )

Ave. Franklin D Roosevelt, 50 - C.P. 114
Brussels, B-1050
Belgium
+32 2 650 4467 (Phone)
+32 2 650 3369 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Aniol Llorente-Saguer

Queen Mary University of London ( email )

Lincoln's Inn Fields
Mile End Rd.
London, E1 4NS
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/aniollls/

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