Why Vote for Losers?

33 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2002

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: June 2002

Abstract

Voting Theory generally concludes that, in first-past-the-post elections, all votes should go to effective candidates (Duverger's Law), and parties should adopt a similar platform (Median Voter Theorem). Such predictions are not always met in practice, however. We show why divergence and vote dispersion is a natural outcome when (i) parties are opportunistic, (ii) there is uncertainty on the position of the median voter and (iii) elections are repeated. 'Voting for losers' increases the informational content of elections, and may induce mainstream parties to relocate towards extremists. As a result, to maximize their probability of being elected, they do not adopt median platforms, but instead diverge to a certain extent.

Keywords: Voting, signalling, Duverger's Law, Poisson Games

JEL Classification: D72, D81

Suggested Citation

Castanheira, Micael, Why Vote for Losers? (June 2002). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=320180

Micael Castanheira (Contact Author)

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

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Brussels, B-1050
Belgium
+32 2 650 4467 (Phone)
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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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