Electoral Competition with Third Party Entry in the Lab

33 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2017

See all articles by Nikolas Tsakas

Nikolas Tsakas

University of Cyprus - Department of Economics

Dimitrios Xefteris

University of Cyprus

Date Written: November 15, 2017

Abstract

Electoral competition between two vote-share maximizing candidates in the context of the unidimensional spatial model leads to platform convergence: both candidates end up proposing the ideal policy of the median voter. Palfrey (1984) famously argued that if third candidate entry is expected after the two main candidates choose their platforms, the unique equilibrium is such that the two main candidates locate substantially far from each other. By conducting a laboratory experiment, we put this popular idea to test, for the first time. We allow entry to take place with a probability p in [0,1] and we find that, indeed, the degree of polarization of the two main candidates’ platforms increases as third candidate entry becomes more likely to occur, providing strong evidence in support of Palfrey’s (1984) formal results and underlying intuition.

Keywords: electoral competition, entry, third party, spatial model, experiment

JEL Classification: D72

Suggested Citation

Tsakas, Nikolas and Xefteris, Dimitrios, Electoral Competition with Third Party Entry in the Lab (November 15, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3071564 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3071564

Nikolas Tsakas (Contact Author)

University of Cyprus - Department of Economics ( email )

75 Kallipoleos Street
P.O. Box 20537
1678 Nicosia
Cyprus

Dimitrios Xefteris

University of Cyprus ( email )

75 Kallipoleos Street
P.O. Box 20537
1678 Nicosia
Cyprus

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