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Party, candidate, and voter incentives under free list proportional representation

Thomas Mustillo and John Polga-Hecimovich
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Thomas Mustillo: University of Notre Dame, USA
John Polga-Hecimovich: U.S. Naval Academy, USA

Journal of Theoretical Politics, 2020, vol. 32, issue 1, 143-167

Abstract: Under free list proportional representation voters can: (a) cast preference votes for candidates; (b) cast multiple preferences; and (c) distribute preferences across multiple lists. Alternatively, they can cast a list vote. Our theory shows that office-seeking candidates face incentives to pursue the personal vote, while non-candidate partisans seek the party vote. Voters are in the cross-currents of these forces. Also, since preference voting is so cognitively and informationally demanding, voters have incentives to use shortcuts, especially (a) list voting; (b) casting fewer than their allotment of preferences; and (c) preference voting for well-known or highly placed candidates. We find support for our expectations using linear mixed-effects regression of the proportion of preference votes in candidate-level electoral data from Ecuador. Personal voting is more prevalent as magnitude increases, where the local party is strong, and for candidates that are incumbents, male, high on the list, and in the position of first loser.

Keywords: Free list proportional representation; panachage; personal vote; preference voting; voto cruzado (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1177/0951629819893023

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