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Path-dependency and coordination in multi-candidate elections with behavioral voters

Costel Andonie and Daniel Diermeier
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Costel Andonie: Department of Economics and Finance, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Daniel Diermeier: Harris School of Public Policy and Office of the Provost, The University of Chicago, USA; Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Canada

Journal of Theoretical Politics, 2017, vol. 29, issue 4, 520-545

Abstract: We consider a behavioral model of voting in multi-candidate elections under plurality rule. In the case of a positive impression of the campaign leader, voters increase their propensity to vote for that candidate, while in the case of a negative impression voters decrease their propensity. The formation of positive or negative impressions depends on an endogenous aspiration level. We show that in multi-candidate elections, in any stationary distribution, the winner receives a share of 50% of votes. Our results suggest that achieving coordination is ‘path-dependent’: whether voters manage to coordinate on the majority-preferred candidate critically depends on the initial state. We then identify conditions that make the election of the majority-preferred candidate more likely. However, even if the majority candidate is elected for sure, voting behavior is only partially coordinated.

Keywords: Behavioral model; multi-candidate elections; voter coordination (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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Handle: RePEc:sae:jothpo:v:29:y:2017:i:4:p:520-545