Journal Article

On the Theory of Strategic Voting

David P. Myatt

in The Review of Economic Studies

Published on behalf of Review of Economic Studies Ltd

Volume 74, issue 1, pages 255-281
Published in print January 2007 | ISSN: 0034-6527
Published online January 2007 | e-ISSN: 1467-937X | DOI:
On the Theory of Strategic Voting

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In a plurality-rule election, a group of voters must coordinate behind one of two challengers in order to defeat a disliked status quo. Departing from existing work, the support for each challenger must be inferred from the private observation of informative signals. The unique equilibrium involves limited strategic voting and incomplete coordination. This is driven by negative feedback: an increase in strategic voting by others reduces the incentives for a voter to act strategically. Strategic-voting incentives are lower in relatively marginal elections, after controlling for the distance from contention of a trailing preferred challenger. A calibration applied to the U.K. General Election of 1997 is consistent with the impact of strategic voting and the reported accuracy of voters' understanding of the electoral situation.

Keywords: D72

Journal Article.  13913 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Analysis of Collective Decision-making

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