Vote Trading in Power-Sharing Systems: A Laboratory Investigation

49 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2018 Last revised: 30 Jan 2020

See all articles by Nikolas Tsakas

Nikolas Tsakas

University of Cyprus - Department of Economics

Dimitrios Xefteris

University of Cyprus

Nicholas Ziros

University of Cyprus - Department of Economics

Date Written: January 30, 2020

Abstract

Vote trading in power-sharing systems -that is, when a voter's utility with respect to the election's outcome is proportional to the vote share of her favorite party- is, in theory, welfare improving. On the other hand, trading votes for money in majoritarian systems may have detrimental welfare effects, especially when voters' preference intensities are similar (Casella, Llorente-Saguer and Palfrey, 2012). We comparatively test vote trading in these popular electoral systems by the means of a laboratory experiment and find strong evidence in support of the above intuitions: vote trading in power-sharing systems results to higher aggregate welfare across all considered specifications, while it fails to do so in majoritarian ones. Importantly, and unlike what theory predicts, there is a substantial share of subjects who consistently lose from vote trading even in power-sharing systems, indicating that its welfare effects cannot be deemed unambiguous.

Keywords: Vote trading, Power-sharing systems, Majoritarian systems, Experiment, Social welfare

JEL Classification: D72

Suggested Citation

Tsakas, Nikolas and Xefteris, Dimitrios and Ziros, Nicholas, Vote Trading in Power-Sharing Systems: A Laboratory Investigation (January 30, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3261141 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3261141

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

Nicholas Ziros

University of Cyprus - Department of Economics ( email )

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

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