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Group incentives and rational voting1

Alastair Smith, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Tom LaGatta
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Alastair Smith: Department of Politics, New York University, USA
Bruce Bueno de Mesquita: Department of Politics, New York University, USA and Splunk, Inc.
Tom LaGatta: Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University, USA

Journal of Theoretical Politics, 2017, vol. 29, issue 2, 299-326

Abstract: Our model describes competition between groups driven by the choices of self-interested voters within groups. Within a Poisson voting environment, parties observe aggregate support from groups and can allocate prizes or punishments to them. In a tournament style analysis, the model characterizes how contingent allocation of prizes based on relative levels of support affects equilibrium voting behavior. In addition to standard notions of pivotality, voters influence the distribution of prizes across groups. Such prize pivotality supports positive voter turnout even in non-competitive electoral settings. The analysis shows that competition for a prize awarded to the most supportive group is only stable when two groups actively support a party. However, competition among groups to avoid punishment is stable in environments with any number of groups. We conclude by examining implications for endogenous group formation and how politicians structure the allocation of rewards and punishments.

Keywords: Pivotality; pivotal voting; random population model; turnout; voting (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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