Electoral competition under best-worst voting rules
Dodge Cahan and
Arkadii Slinko ()
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Arkadii Slinko: University of Auckland
Social Choice and Welfare, 2018, vol. 51, issue 2, No 4, 259-279
Abstract We characterise multi-candidate pure-strategy equilibria in the Hotelling–Downs spatial election model for the class of best-worst voting rules, in which each voter is endowed with both a positive and a negative vote, i.e., each voter votes in favour of their most preferred candidate and against their least preferred. The importance of positive and negative votes in calculating a candidate’s net score may be different, so that a negative vote and a positive vote need not cancel out exactly. These rules combine the first-place seeking incentives of plurality with the incentives to avoid being ranked last of antiplurality. We show that, in our simple model, arbitrary best-worst rules admit equilibria, which (except for three candidates) are nonconvergent if and only if the importance of a positive vote exceeds that of a negative vote. The set of equilibria in the latter case is very similar to that of plurality, except the platforms are less extreme due to the moderating effect of negative votes. Moreover: (i) any degree of dispersion between plurality, at one extreme, and full convergence, at the other, can be attained for the correct choice of the weights; and, (ii) when they exist (and there are at least five candidates), there always exist nonconvergent equilibria in which none of the most extreme candidates receive the most electoral support.
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