Why Vote for Losers?

IGIER WP No. 125

40 Pages Posted: 28 Jun 1998

See all articles by Micael Castanheira

Micael Castanheira

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

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Date Written: March 1998

Abstract

Voting Theory generally concludes that -in first-past-the-post elections- 1) All votes should go to effective candidates (Duverger's Law); 2) Parties' platforms should converge (Median Voter Theorem). Observations, though, suggest that such predictions are not met in practice. We show that divergence and dispersion of votes is a natural election outcome when there is uncertainty and repetition of elections. "Voting for Losers" increases the informational content of elections, and forces main parties to relocate towards extremists. As a result, parties maximize their probability of being elected, not by converging to the median but by diverging to a certain extent. Ideological behavior (divergence) results then from optimizing considerations alone.

JEL Classification: D72, D81

Suggested Citation

Castanheira, Micael, Why Vote for Losers? (March 1998). IGIER WP No. 125, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=90254 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.90254

Micael Castanheira (Contact Author)

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

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