Please Don't Vote for Me: Voting in a Natural Experiment with Perverse Incentives

28 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2015

Date Written: June 2015

Abstract

Whether individuals vote strategically is one of the most important questions at the intersection of economics and political science. Exploiting a flaw in the German electoral system by which a party may gain seats by receiving fewer votes, this article documents patterns of preference misrepresentation in a large, real‐world election. During the 2005 elections to the Bundestag, the sudden death of a right‐wing 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.

Suggested Citation

Spenkuch, Jörg L., Please Don't Vote for Me: Voting in a Natural Experiment with Perverse Incentives (June 2015). The Economic Journal, Vol. 125, Issue 585, pp. 1025-1052, 2015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2621094 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ecoj.12131

Jörg L. Spenkuch (Contact Author)

Northwestern University - Department of Managerial Economics and Decision Sciences (MEDS) ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

HOME PAGE: http://jspenkuch.github.io

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